Controversy surrounds legislative attempts to eliminate “permanent alimony” in Florida. Attempts to reform spousal support laws won’t occur in 2021, but another attempt to eliminate the permanent support will likely happen in 2022. Opponents of the law have sought to repeal it for roughly a decade. While not successful in 2021, lawmakers may succeed in the following legislative session.
Making changes to Florida alimony laws
Various concerns drive the lobbying effort to reform the present alimony laws. Worries about continuing to work well past retirement age solely to support spousal support payments motivate some efforts. Others might point out they pay alimony while earning far less than their ex-partner. And then some spouses mention they are stay-at-home parents forced to pay someone who works full-time.
While lobbying efforts continue, reform legislation runs into difficulties. Senate Republican leaders decided to withdraw legislation this past April. It appears even fellow GOP members are not in favor of the legislation, as former Republican Gov. Rick Scott vetoed previous attempts to change the law.
Florida law and alimony
Not all alimony under Florida’s family law statutes is “permanent,” and there are other statuses, including “temporary” and “durational,” that might be ordered by the courts. Agreements on spousal support could come during divorce settlement negotiations. However, if the parties cannot agree and go to court, a judge may render an agreement that may or may not be favorable to one or both parties.
Presenting detailed financial evidence could help establish reasonable alimony amounts. A spouse might attempt to hide assets or inflate debts and expenses to sway decisions. Such attempts could end up revealed during negotiations, possibly leading to legal troubles.
At present, Florida laws regarding permanent alimony remain in place. Changes may occur, but, until that time, residents must abide by current rules.