For years now, there has been talk about eliminating our state’s permanent alimony. And, if you have been paying attention to this debate recently, you may have heard that SB 1796, the bill to eliminate alimony in Florida, finally passed. So, that means permanent alimony is gone, right?
What is SB 1796?
There are three Hallmarks of SB 1796. First, its most famous provision, it eliminated permanent alimony. Second, it has those who currently pay alimony a “pathway to retirement.” And, finally, it created a default presumption for Florida family courts that an even split (50-50) child custody arrangements are in the best interest of a Coral Springs, Florida, child.
What happened to SB 1796?
It never became law. Our governor vetoed it because he did not agree with the bill applying retroactively to alimony already awarded.
What does that mean?
It means that Florida alimony law is the same as it was last year. That means we still have bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent alimony.
How is the appropriate alimony type selected?
Purpose, time and the spouses themselves dictate the type of appropriate alimony. For example, for bridge-the-gap alimony, the judge looks at the relationship and finds that one spouse will need support to help that transition from cohabitation to their new single-income life. The judge also finds that this can be done quickly (less than two years), and there is a discernible path for that transition. The most common time this is done is when one spouse cannot afford their transition until the property division process is completed and the assets are sold and split.
The Broward County judge can look at any factor they believe is necessary because of equity and justice consideration. For example, the family law judge looks at the needs of each spouse and the ability of each spouse to pay (income sources and amounts). The judge also looks at the normalized standard of living that occurred throughout the marriage (and the duration of the marriage), including the marital and nonmarital estates of each spouse.
In addition, the judge looks at the physical and emotional health of each spouse, along with their ability to earn money, like their educational level and age. Then, the Palm Beach, Florida, judge looks at each spouse’s ability to transition out of the marriage, along with how each spouse contributed to each other’s success (childcare, homemaking, etc.).