Only a handful of states still allow permanent alimony and Florida just left that small fold. Spousal support will not look the same in Florida starting today, July 1, 2023, when a major alimony-reform bill took effect. Officially presented to him on June 26, but having been a top news item for weeks, the legislation received Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature the day before it was to become law.
A decade in the making
This development caps several years of political debate and activity in the Sunshine State both for and against permanent spousal support. Three similar bills have been vetoed during this time period and we have written in detail about these issues is in previous posts.
Until now, permanent alimony in Florida has meant an obligation to pay spousal support until one of the ex-spouses dies, or the recipient remarries or enters a supportive, but unmarried relationship.
Why the conflict over permanent alimony?
With the numbers of couples retiring to Florida, it is no surprise that issues related to alimony in older age came to a head. On one side were alimony payors, mostly men because of their historically traditional roles as breadwinners, who argued that they could not retire because of the never-ending obligation to their exes.
On the other hand, women (mostly) who had fulfilled traditional roles as homemakers, at-home parents and sometimes hosts to their spouses’ corporate entertaining needs, asserted that without permanent alimony, they would lose the source of their livelihood, having foregone careers for the family and now facing advanced age.
Now that the change is upon us, we turn to the bill itself to understand not only the elimination of permanent alimony, but also several other changes it brings. We anticipate posts in the short term about the new process for payors approaching retirement to seek reduction or elimination of alimony, details about the three remaining types of alimony and formulas based on the length of marriages, enhancement of the definition of supportive relationships and the debate over whether the amendments are truly not retroactive.