Florida Alimony Laws and the Drastic 2023 Legislative Changes

Posted on September 29th, 2023

Florida courts can no longer award permanent alimony as of July 1, 2023.   Changes to the laws governing alimony awards applies to any final judgment entered on or after July 1, 2023.  The new law limits rehabilitative alimony to five years.  The court can not award durational alimony for a marriage of less than three years.  Changes to the law establish guidelines by which the court may award durational alimony.  The term of an award of durational alimony is limited based on the duration of the marriage.  The amount of durational alimony may not exceed the lesser of the obligee’s reasonable need or 35 percent of the difference between the parties’ net incomes.  Florida alimony laws

The court must make written findings of fact in order to require the obligor to purchase life insurance to secure alimony.  The court must reduce or terminate alimony if it makes specific written findings that a supportive relationship exists.   Finally, the new law also makes provisions for retirement and modification of alimony due to retirement.

Current case law allows for the modification or termination of alimony upon “reasonable retirement..”  “Reasonable retirement” is a loosely-defined concept. The new law codifies standards and procedures related to retirement.   However, an obligor may not file a petition for modification of alimony due to retirement sooner than six months prior to the planned retirement.  Lastly, the new law provides a number of factors the court must consider in determining whether to modify or terminate alimony.

Does The Change Apply to Alimony Awards Established Before July 1, 2023?

It remains uncertain how the new Florida alimony laws will impact modification of alimony for older judgments.  Generally, new laws that affect pre-existing property rights are unconstitutional.  An alimony award entered prior to July 1, 2023 is an existing property right.  Property rights should not be subject to change without notice and an opportunity to be heard.

If you have questions about Florida’s alimony laws, then you should consult with an experienced attorney.