The Fight for Alimony Reform in Florida

One of the most hotly contested issues in a divorce is alimony. Alimony is paid by one spouse to the other spouse during the divorce process or for a period of time after the divorce is finalized. It is usually required of the higher earner to pay the spouse who is the lower earner in order for him or her to maintain a lifestyle similar to the one that was had during the divorce.

Temporary alimony is paid while the divorce is pending and one spouse requires continued financial support during the proceedings. Temporary alimony ends when the divorce is finalized. There is also bridge-the-gap alimony that starts when the divorce becomes final but is short term. The maximum time frame for bridge-the-gap alimony to be paid is two years. Additionally, rehabilitative alimony may be ordered in some cases. It has the specific purpose of helping the recipient spouse get the necessary training and education to obtain gainful employment. Also, durational alimony is an option. This type of alimony is awarded when the other types of alimony will not be sufficient to meet the needs of the spouse.

There is also permanent alimony. The intention of permanent alimony is to financially provide for a spouse who lacks the ability to become self-supporting and live at a standard at least closely comparable to that which was had during the marriage. Permanent alimony has come under fire in recent years and many have been fighting it. Various Florida advocacy groups have taken up the cause of either fighting to maintain or fighting to get rid of permanent alimony.

Alimony Reform: Eliminating Permanent Alimony

The Florida Family Law PAC is mostly comprised of those who pay alimony along with their second wives. They are fighting for legislation that would eliminate permanent alimony as well as introduce guidelines to spousal support that would function much like child support guidelines in the child support calculation. The group asserts that alimony based on one spouse’s needs and the other spouse’s ability to pay is the cause of substantial inconsistency in the result. Furthermore, the higher-earning spouse can also be ordered to pay for attorneys’ fees for both sides on top of an alimony payment obligation that extends beyond retirement.

The Florida Family Law PAC further reminds the public that judges paid with taxpayer money are spending their days resolving alimony disputes related to missed payments, among other things. These disputes can go on for years and end up exhausting the bank accounts of all parties. Additionally, alimony enforcement is limited, which means that so people are in arrears of substantial amounts. A spouse will stop paying and the other will be forced into debt.

If Florida eventually decides to adopt an alimony formula, it will not be the first state to do so. Other states have adopted formulas that include such factors as the length of the marriage and the difference between the income levels of the spouses. Furthermore, Indiana has limited spousal support in most cases to three years. Massachusetts, in 2011, agreed to not only limiting alimony based on the length of the marriage but also having it end upon the retirement of the payer.

Florida Divorce Attorneys

The fact that alimony is a hotly contested issue in divorce is not going to go away any time soon, if ever. It is a fiercely litigated issue and one which the spouses involved feel very passionate about. The fact that alimony can become so heated is one of the many reasons why you need dedicated divorce counsel by your side. The dedicated divorce attorneys at the Orlando Family Team are here to help clients in all aspects of divorce. We will always fight for your best interests. Contact us today.

About the Author
Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew and his partner, Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esq., B.C.S., joined forces in March 2016 to form the unique and boutique husband and wife family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. Together, Andrew and Ophelia take a practical and team-based approach to all of their cases and clients to deliver the highest quality experience and representation.