Every July 1, new laws hit the books in Florida — lots of them. More than 200 new laws were passed for 2023. Poring through the latest list, one stands out — SB 1416 — aka, Dissolution of Marriage. In particular, the alimony reforms that lie within.
In short, the new measure signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 30 is designed to give divorcing couples clear, definitive parameters for courts when considering the amount and duration of alimony.
Given that the subject of alimony is complex, there are several layers to the new law.
The biggest change, and the one grabbing most headlines, is the elimination of permanent alimony in favor of a formula based on durational. This type of proposal has come before lawmakers numerous times over the last decade. All have been vetoed — up until now.
According to listings on the Florida Senate web portal, other key parts of the law include:
- Rehabilitative alimony is limited to 5 years.
- Durational alimony may not be awarded for a marriage of less than 3 years. The term of an award is limited based on the duration of the marriage, with certain exceptions, and may not exceed the lesser of the obligee’s reasonable need or 35% of the difference between the parties’ net incomes.
- A court must make specific written findings if it requires an obligor to purchase life insurance to secure the award of alimony.
- A court must reduce or terminate an award of alimony if it makes specific written findings that a supportive relationship exists. The bill places the burden on the obligor to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that such a relationship exists. Once proven, the burden shifts to the obligee to prove by a preponderance of the evidence the court should not reduce or terminate alimony.
Depending on how you look at the final bullet point above, this could even include “temporary roommates” who help alimony recipients cover living expenses for various lengths of time.
If one element in law remains, it’s that things change.
This new law is a game changer for many who have been or are going through the divorce process. Knowing what to expect is half the battle. Understanding how to adjust is the other. We’re here to help.