Calculating Durational Alimony Under the New Florida Alimony Law
This year, Florida lawmakers passed a sweeping alimony reform law that officially went into effect in July. Besides abolishing permanent alimony, the new law also modified the formula used for calculating durational alimony and placed significant limits on the duration and amounts of those awards. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of Florida’s new alimony law and how it could affect your own finances following divorce.
A Financial Need and Ability to Pay
The first step in any durational alimony determination is proving that the person seeking alimony has a need for financial support and that the person’s spouse has the ability to satisfy all or part of that need. This determination will require an in-depth analysis of the parties’ finances, including their incomes and investments, as well as their ages, health, and earning abilities. Under the new law, it is now the obligation for the person seeking alimony to establish the need for and ability to pay alimony.
The Duration of the Marriage
If a person is able to establish that he or she requires financial support from a soon-to-be former spouse, then the court can move ahead with calculating the payment. This in turn, will start with an assessment of the length of the marriage as calculated from the date that the marriage actually took place to the date of the divorce filing. Under the new alimony law, there is now a rebuttable presumption that any marriage lasting less than ten years qualifies as a short-term marriage, while marriages of between ten and 20 years are moderate-term, and marriages lasting longer than 20 years constitute long-term unions. Under the new alimony law, durational alimony, which is awarded for a specific period of time, cannot be awarded following marriages that last fewer than three years. The duration of the marriage will also affect the amount of the award. For instance, a durational alimony award cannot exceed:
- 50 percent of the length of a short-term marriage;
- 60 percent of the length of a moderate-term marriage; or
- 75 percent of the length of a long-term marriage.
Only in exceptional circumstances is a court permitted to extend the term of an alimony award beyond these limits.
The Amount of Alimony
The new alimony law also placed limits on how much a person could be awarded in spousal maintenance. Under the terms of the new rules, the amount of a durational alimony award is determined by the recipient’s reasonable need, but cannot exceed 35 percent of the difference between the parties’ incomes. Furthermore, any award of alimony cannot leave the payor with significantly less income than the recipient.
Reach Out to Our Dedicated Legal Team Today
If you have questions about how the new alimony law will affect your own legal obligations, please call Cairns Law at 727-683-1472 and set up a meeting with one of our experienced Clearwater alimony lawyers today. We are available for both evening and weekend appointments, so don’t hesitate to call or contact us online to schedule a meeting.