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Phone: 904-733-9080


Divorce laws are always evolving, and, unfortunately, this can make an already difficult process even more frustrating to navigate. Just when you think you have a basic grasp of how divorce might proceed, the protocols change, and you’re forced to sort through new rules and adjust your strategy accordingly. This is the current state of affairs in Florida, where new legislation will bring about huge changes to the very concept of alimony, not to mention the intricacies of this already complex process.

Signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in late June 2023, a new reform bill (known as SB 1416 or the Dissolution of Marriage bill) will completely transform how alimony is handled in the state of Florida. Moving forward, these changes may even hold implications for alimony arrangements in other states.

These changes may seem sudden to those navigating the divorce process, but they’re actually a long time coming. Previously, both Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott vetoed similar bills. This time, however, both legislators and the state’s executive were ready, with the Florida Senate voting 34-6 in the reform bill’s favor.

Opinions on the need for alimony updates vary dramatically from one person to the next — but regardless of personal feelings, it’s clear at this point that there is a strong need to strategize based on Florida’s new normal. This begins with learning as much as possible about how alimony will work in Florida from now on. Keep reading to learn more about Florida’s updated approach to alimony and what this could mean for the divorce process:


Bidding Farewell to Permanent Alimony

Arguably the most significant change included in the recent alimony reform bill: getting rid of permanent alimony, which was previously allowed in very select situations. This was once available when it was abundantly clear that one spouse would be completely unable to maintain a specific standard of living after getting divorced. Prior to the reform bill, Florida was one of just a few states that allowed for permanent alimony, which has been falling out of favor for quite some time now.

From now on, there will now be four main categories for alimony in Florida:

Beyond these determinations, there will be the need to indicate whether alimony will take the form of a lump sum or provided as periodic payments. When the duration of the marriage is considered, the definitions will be as follows:


Including Adultery in Alimony Decision-Making

A variety of factors play into alimony amounts and durations — but until recently, issues related to infidelity were, in most cases, not considered. There were exceptions, of course, including cases in which the behavior of the person committing adultery substantially impacted marital assets or funds.

The role of adultery in the divorce process is about to change, as Florida’s reform bill ensures that such behavior can play into alimony considerations to a greater extent than was previously possible. Specifically, the bill’s summary mentions that one of its purposes involves “authorizing the court to consider the adultery of either spouse and any resulting economic impact in determining the amount of alimony awarded.”


Shifting the Burden of Proof

In general, Florida’s alimony changes have made it more difficult for divorcing spouses to seek and obtain alimony — and even when they’re able to do so, the updated approach limits the scope of these payments in both amount and duration. The concept of burden of proof plays heavily into this bill. The second section of the bill specifies that it is the responsibility of those seeking support to demonstrate that alimony is needed — and that the other person is able to pay it. 

Meanwhile, courts are asked to anticipate the needs of both parties after the divorce rather than primarily looking to the standard of living enjoyed while married. What’s more, courts will be asked to reduce or even terminate support in certain situations. 


Moving Into a New Era of Florida Divorces

As Florida’s divorce laws change, it is more important than ever to work with a highly skilled family lawyer. This will be particularly crucial when seeking alimony, as it will now be a lot more difficult to obtain levels of support that were previously taken for granted. While this will no doubt cause major problems for some clients, associated opportunities exist for many others. Hence, the need for nuanced, client-centric representation.

Change may be unavoidable, but legal responses can determine the extent to which these adjustments impact Florida residents as they navigate the divorce process. Don’t underestimate the role that legal support can play every step of the way. If you are going through a divorce please contact our office at 904-733-9080.


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