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Florida alimony reform bill to be filed

Sponsors involved in Florida legislature are reportedly trying again to pass a bill that made its way through the legislature last year but was vetoed by the governor. The bill dealt with alimony reform and sought to end permanent alimony. The sticking point was that it allowed for previous alimony judgments to be revisited and perhaps modified.

Sources say that the sponsor of the legislation has made revisions and intends to refile the bill as early as the week of Jan. 13. The bill aims to repair provisions in the current alimony laws by, among other issues, ensuring that an ex-spouse is reimbursed for alimony mistakenly paid during co-habitation. Opponents of the bill argue that the broad reform proposed by the new legislation would cause more harm than good.

Under Florida law, the state can grant temporary or permanent alimony based on several factors such as the need for alimony by one spouse and the ability to pay by the other. The amount is partially influenced by the circumstances surrounding the dissolution of the marriage. The length of the marriage, the age of the spouses at the time of the divorce, the potential earning ability of both parties and other factors are figured in. Homemaking and education play a large part of the overall determination.

The length of the marriage is also important in terms of the duration of alimony. A marriage that lasted for 17 or more years qualifies a dependent spouse for permanent alimony, although shorter duration may be considered under certain circumstances. If either party dies or if the party receiving alimony remarries, the permanent alimony stops.

There are many nuances in Florida state alimony laws. An attorney familiar with family law may be able to provide helpful advice and guidance to a spouse seeking to understand and claim alimony in a divorce.

Source: Online Sunshine, "The 2013 Florida Statutes," 2013

Source: News Channel 7, "Alimony Reform Returns", January 10, 2014

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