Many people are required to pay or receive alimony as part of their divorce settlement. Many people agree with the practice and many people do not. What most people can agree on is that the current structure of Florida’s alimony system is not great, definitely not what it could be.
This year, 2020, a few bills were proposed to Florida’s House and Senate that would fix and change the alimony system by addressing the problems that many people in our communities believe are unfair and even unlawful.
For those of us who don’t understand, what exactly is alimony and what changes do these bills attempt to make?
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is a payment made to a former partner that is court-ordered during a divorce if the person seeking it falls under certain categories and is determined by the court to need it to maintain their livelihood. Alimony exists to make sure that the person receiving the alimony has a way to support themselves until they can do so for themselves.
Much thought goes into the decision on who deserves alimony and the answer is contingent on several factors. The length of your marriage and your standard way of living is always considered, along with your income level and assets.
Your age, emotional, and physical conditions are also factors that will help decide how much money you will give or get. They also include the physical work that a stay-at-home father or mother exerts to care for, clean after, and cook for the entire family. The courts consider this work as a full-time job deserving of benefits.
Types Of Alimony
You may be asked to pay, or be paid, one of several alimony options available in Florida. The options include:
- Temporary: the payments last only until the divorce is finalized.
- Permanent: a continuous payment to help the receiving party maintain a standard of living that they are used to. This payment is not actually permanent, there is just no documented end-date.
- Rehabilitative: a payment made to a former spouse while they increase their education and can then support themselves.
- Lump-sum: a large payment that covers what a person would pay monthly in ordinary alimony.
- Transitional: a payment made to a former spouse until they are settled into a new home and all their basic needs are met.
- Durational: payments made monthly for the same amount of time that the marriage lasted.
These options seem to cover just about everyone but there are still problems in the system.
Many members of our state government have heard alimony complaints from their constituents and two bills have been drafted that support several changes in the current procedure.
Changes Proposed By Senate Bill 1832
SB 1832 asks for many changes relating to a person’s net income, the fairness of certain alimony types over others, and eliminating the consideration of adultery in monetary decisions.
The bill also asks for more accountability on the part of the decision-makers as well as increasing the burden of proof on those who seek alimony. They also ask for the receiver to take out a life insurance policy on the giver while decreasing the length of time rehabilitative alimony will be paid, to protect the giver from an unmotivated receiver.
The bill emphasizes the need to make the process of modifying or terminating the payments early much more accessible and easier to accomplish.
Changes Proposed By House Bill 843
HB 843 also asks for more accountability on the part of the decision-makers as well as the entire elimination of permanent alimony in general. They ask that retired persons not be made to pay alimony in many cases while suggesting the removal of the length of the marriage as a somewhat large determining factor in alimony decisions.
Both of these bills are taken seriously in Florida’s House and Senate. Decisions may be made within the year, prompting many changes that will affect our futures if we are considering divorce. Essentially, you must contact the right attorney who is educated on the subject and knowledgeable about the law. It’s a tremendous bonus to also find one that is compassionate to your wants and needs.
Call Ronald M. Zakarin For Guidance
Contact us as soon as possible at the Law Offices of Ronald M. Zakarin for any of your family law needs. Our job is to protect your most valuable asset, your family, while ensuring that you get the best deal available when it comes to changes in your marriage, your health, and most importantly, your children.
To learn more about what we can do for you, call 561-338-5297 to request a free consultation. We’re always here to guide you through whatever family issue comes your way.