When a marriage breaks down, the financial scales usually tip in favor of the breadwinner spouse, who spends their days sharpening their earning capacity. On the other hand, the other spouse’s earning power stagnates as their contribution reflects in their role as the stay-at-home parent.
Alimony or spousal maintenance balances both spouses’ economic circumstances by maintaining their legal duty to keep each other financially stable. Alimony alleviates financial disparity by obliging the earning spouse to financially support their dependent spouse and maintain their standard of living. Florida courts do not award alimony by default. They weigh relevant factors unique to the family’s situation, making it on a case-to-case basis.
Issues on alimony are inherently contentious, and the state’s new bill, referred to as SB1416, only makes it even more so.
A new perspective on alimony
After numerous attempts and several language revisions, the alimony reform bill is only a step away from passing as a law this year. Here are some vital provisions of the proposed legislation:
- Eliminating the court’s authority to award permanent or lifetime alimony, which emphasizes other forms of alimony – rehabilitative, durational and bridge-the-gap
- Authorizing the court in considering either spouse’s adultery in determining the amount of awarded alimony
- Giving the burden of proof to the party seeking spousal maintenance
- Providing the court with the authority in reducing or terminating awarded alimony under specific circumstances, such as written factual findings regarding the paying party’s retirement
- Prohibiting an awarded rehabilitative alimony from exceeding a specified time frame
The state’s governor has yet to officially state his position on this highly contentious matter. But if he signs off on this bill, its effectivity date is a few days from now, specifically July 1st.
Most women and other low-earning groups contest this bill, saying it only creates added hardships for spouses who have long been out of jobs or those who endure a long-term medical disability. Further, they fear it will only expose the child to an abusive home situation. Conversely, the bill’s advocates argue that the bill aims to develop a stable alimony framework and addresses the drawbacks of a spouse’s established dependency on alimony.
Keep yourself informed
Laws are ever-changing. If you’re contemplating or are already in the middle of a divorce, a legal team can help you stay on top of changes, protecting your rights without violating any new state rules.