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Can I Still Get Alimony in Florida?

Getting a divorce is a major decision for any couple no matter how long you’ve been together. For many people, there’s a fear of big changes in the lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed to. Alimony is a way for lower-earning spouses to buy themselves enough time to get back on their feet on a single income. Governor Ron DeSantis has shaken up the alimony landscape in Florida with the signing of Senate Bill 1416. Effective July 1, 2023, this bill ushers in significant changes that reshape how alimony is awarded and managed in divorce cases. Let’s break down the key aspects of this new alimony law.

Saying Goodbye to Permanent Alimony

One of the biggest concerns for many people was the end of “permanent alimony.” Although alimony was never literally permanent, unless specific requirements were met, the length of time funds would be distributed to the lesser-earning spouse was rather open-ended. Now, the focus shifts to three distinct categories of alimony:

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony: A lifeline for up to two years, this alimony assists the lower-earning spouse in transitioning toward self-sufficiency.

Rehabilitative Alimony: Stretching up to five years, rehabilitative alimony is designed to support the lower-earning spouse in pursuing education or training to enhance their income potential.

Durational Alimony: This type of alimony is granted for a defined period, taking into account the length of the marriage and the specific needs of the lesser-earning spouse to become self-sufficient.

Shifts in The Burden of Proof

The new law tweaks the rules of engagement for alimony seekers. Previously, it was the duty of the paying spouse to demonstrate that the receiving spouse didn’t require alimony. However, under the revamped law, the receiving spouse now has the responsibility of proving that they need alimony payments.

For divorcing couples in Florida, these changes bring about considerable implications. If you’re currently on the receiving end of permanent alimony, it’s time to connect with a legal professional to gauge whether your alimony will be affected. Although at the beginning of its signing, lawmakers assured alimony-recipients that existing alimony agreements would not be changed, this may not always be the case.

Modification and Termination

This revamped alimony law also offers greater flexibility to those making alimony payments. If your income takes a hit or the receiving spouse’s income sees an uptick, you might have the chance to modify or even terminate your alimony obligations. The recent law acknowledges that paying alimony should not eliminate your chances of retiring at a reasonable age.

Partner With Your Attorney

With updated alimony laws coming into play, reaching out to a legal expert is more crucial than ever. Whether you’re facing changes to your existing alimony arrangement, or you’re planning to make alimony negotiations, your attorney will serve as a guide to help you make informed decisions and look out for your best interests.

A Petkovich Law Firm, we’re here to help you navigate this new phase of your life with confidence. Divorce is challenging enough already, and you don’t need any additional complications getting in the way of your happiness. To schedule a consultation, call our office at (305) 358-8003.


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