Florida recently joined the vast majority of states when it ended the power of a state judge to order a divorcing spouse to pay permanent alimony. As of July 1, 2023, a new, significant alimony law took effect that ended the availability of permanent alimony in the Sunshine State. Florida law had previously allowed ongoing alimony until the death of either ex-spouse, or the remarriage or new supportive relationship of the recipient.
The alimony law changes apply to “all initial petitions for dissolution of marriage or support unconnected with dissolution of marriage pending or filed on or after July 1, 2023.”
Changes in alimony after long dispute
We have provided detailed information about this bill and the decade it took for a version of it to pass. Basically, opponents were concerned about older spouses who require ongoing support because self-support would be difficult because of age or lack of vocational skills. These ex-spouses usually had foregone education, training and career to care for children and household while the other spouse developed their career to support the family.
Supporters of eliminating permanent alimony pointed to the challenge of older obligors (paying ex-spouses) to retire because of their permanent alimony obligations. Another scenario they raised was of an elderly payor having to drain their investments and savings to pay alimony sometimes even after they themselves had become infirm.
What will alimony look like going forward?
This post begins a series that will look more closely at what the alimony scheme is now after the new bill. For example, without permanent alimony, judges can still grant temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative or durational spousal support. Eligibility may depend in part on length of marriage and fairness after considering an array of factors.