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Recent Movement on Florida Alimony Reform

Alimony is an aspect of divorce that is often subject to the fiercest fighting and can generate continuing controversy even years after the matter is supposedly settled. In many states, alimony, also known as maintenance, has become increasingly rare as laws have been adapted to reflect a modern social structure where spouses are more likely to be equal financial contributors in the marriage. Nevertheless, some states have been slow to adapt, allowing alimony laws to remain in place that rely upon decades-old social mores and simply do not make sense in the world as it is today.

Calls for reform of Florida’s archaic alimony laws have only increased since May 2013 when Governor Rick Scott vetoed an alimony reform bill that passed the legislature by a wide margin. One of the chief reasons for his decision was the fact that the bill would have had a retroactive effect on many already divorced people who have come to rely on alimony as a primary source of income.

The governor, however, did recognize that the bill had many positive elements and that alimony reform was a necessity. This means that reform efforts are almost certain to continue and may include several tweaks to the provisions of the 2013 bill:

  • Removal or limitation of the retroactive effect of reform
  • Limitation, rather than complete elimination, of permanent alimony
  • Creation of a legal presumption that spouses should expect some decrease in standard of living after divorce
  • New rules that would make it easier to discontinue alimony, especially upon retirement of the payor spouse

Regardless of how these reform efforts play out, alimony is certain to continue to be an issue of crucial importance in many Florida divorce cases. As such, it is important for those contemplating divorce to consult with a dedicated Largo divorce attorney, preferably one who is board-certified in family law in Florida.