SB 1796 Seeks To Eliminate ‘Permanent’ Alimony In Florida

A comprehensive alimony reform measure was recently adopted by the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. With a stroke of his pen, Governor Ron DeSantis could enact SB 1796, resulting in significant changes involving divorcing couples in the State of Florida. If signed into law by Gov. DeSantis, SB 1796 would take effective July 1, 2022, making permanent (lifetime) alimony a thing of the past.  

With permanent alimony being potentially eliminated, SB 1796 would permit the awarding of the three remaining types of alimony, including:

  • Bridge-the gap alimony, which is awarded to assist parties in making the transition from being married to single, and is intended to cover short-terms needs for no more than two years; 
  • Rehabilitative alimony, which is intended to assist the recipient spouse become self-supporting through education, experience and training for no more than five years; and
  • Durational alimony, which provides a recipient spouse with support for a specific period of time, and cannot be awarded unless the parties have been married for more than three years. 

Other changes to alimony applicable to any final judgment entered on or after July 1, 2022 including the following:

  • Durational alimony may not be awarded for a marriage of less than 3 years, is scaled based on duration of marriage, with an exception if the obligee is disabled or is a full-time caretaker of a totally disabled child of both spouses, and alimony awarded may not exceed the lesser of the obligee’s reasonable need or 35 percent of the difference between the parties’ net incomes.
  • A presumption that both parties will have a lower standard of living after dissolution of the marriage.
  • A prohibition against the award of alimony to a party whose net income exceeds the net income of the other party.
  • A prohibition against requirements for an obligor to purchase life insurance to secure the award of alimony.
  • Expansion of the concept of a supportive relationship to allow consideration of a supportive relationship when first setting alimony in the dissolution of marriage case. The criteria defining a supportive relationship at the time of dissolution is the same as for a later modification.

SB 1796 also creates a rebuttable presumption that equal time-sharing with the minor child is in the best interest of a child, and provides that a parent moving to a residence within 50 miles of the primary residence of a child from a residence more than 50 miles away is a substantial change in circumstances.

To speak with a Florida family law attorney regarding the potential change’s to Florida’s alimony law, please contact us at (813) 907-9807.