If divorce and either paying or receiving alimony are on the horizon, it’s important to know about a new term that’s entered the legal lexicon in Florida: durational alimony. It may not feel new if you follow state politics at all, since lawmakers and governors have been kicking around the idea for years, along with ending the option of permanent alimony.
This summer, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that adds durational alimony as an option for some couples and eliminates the option of permanent alimony for any spousal support agreement signed after July 1. Those currently receiving permanent alimony can continue to do so unless their ex is able to successfully get a modification to their agreement.
Who is eligible for durational alimony, and how is it unique?
Just like rehabilitative and bridge-the-gap alimony (which remain in the law), durational alimony is intended to be temporary. Not everyone is eligible for it. It’s available only when a marriage has lasted at least three years.
As is typically the case with alimony, one of the factors considered when determining the length of time it’s to be paid is the length of the marriage. However, there are some specific limitations. For example, it cannot last beyond 75% of the length of the marriage. If a couple was married for 20 years, for example, a spouse can’t be ordered to pay alimony for more than 15 years.
What other factors are considered?
As with other types of alimony, a judge will consider both people’s earning potential, age, health and other factors that affect their financial outlook. However, the new law states that the amount is based on “the obligee’s reasonable need, or an amount not to exceed 35% of the difference between the parties’ net incomes, whichever amount is less.”
Whether you’re going to be seeking or expect to be paying spousal support or if you have a modifiable agreement already in place, it’s crucial to understand what your options and your rights are under the new law. That’s just one reason why you need experienced legal guidance.