The Fight Over Alimony Continues in Florida
There is no question that alimony (also known as “maintenance” in Florida) is becoming an increasingly controversial issue, especially as alimony payments are awarded less and less every day, and some special interest groups are fighting to get rid of it altogether throughout the state. Enforcement of these payments has also become extremely limited, which has left many owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in alimony; many of them going into debt while waiting for it.
The Law & Reasoning of Alimony
Historically, alimony in Florida and elsewhere was justified based on the reasoning that both spouses should share equally in the losses associated with divorce, including anyone whose earning potential was negatively affected by staying home with the children during the marriage. As of 2017, approximately 268,000 people were receiving alimony income payments, where approximately 98 percent of them were women.
Most-all states have very specific formulas that consider the length of the marriage and the difference in each spouse’s income, including Florida, which also allows the court to take the following factors into account in determining whether to award alimony:
- The age and emotional and physical condition of both parties;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The financial resources of each party (including marital and nonmarital assets);
- The earning capacity of each party, including education levels and time necessary to obtain training or education to enable them to find “appropriate” employment;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The contributions of each to the marriage, including in caring for children and homemaking;
- The tax consequences of any alimony awards;
- All sources of income to both parties;
- The responsibilities each party will bear with respect to any caretaking of children from the marriage; and
- Any other factors necessary to accomplish justice and equity between the parties.
Legislation Introduced To Slash Permanent Alimony & Mandate Timesharing In Custody
Florida’s Governor Rick Scott previously vetoed legislation that would have eliminated alimony several years in a row, citing concerns over the legislation potentially applying to retroactive payments; as well as additional provisions in the legislation that would have mandated equal time sharing between parents in custody battles; regardless of the circumstances (vetoing out of concern for the best interests of the child). The legislation was reintroduced in 2019, and, once again, cuts lifetime alimony, while also encouraging judges to provide equal time sharing to divorced parents (regardless of the specific circumstances). It also contains a retroactive feature that would limit alimony to half the marriage. As of now, the bill does not appear to be scheduled on any committee calendars.
Contact Our Florida Alimony Attorneys To Find Out More
West Palm Beach alimony and spousal support attorney William Wallshein has more than 30 years of experience in assisting individuals in Florida with alimony issues during and after divorce. Our attorney will fight aggressively to ensure that you and your loved ones are protected and provided for. Contact the office of William Wallshein, P.A. today to find out more about our family law services.