When a couple decides to end their marriage, there are many issues that will be unique to their situation that must be addressed during the divorce. It may take a lot of negotiating by the parties before they come to an agreement on property division or child custody matters. In some situations, the couple may be unable to work together, and will need the court to issue a ruling that decides these concerns.
Alimony is an additional item that will be addressed during the divorce process. Recently, the Florida Legislature had proposed making changes to the alimony laws within the state, but the bill was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott.
The bill had proposed ending permanent alimony and would have applied retroactively. This meant that those ordered to pay lifetime spousal support would have been allowed to petition the court to put an end to those payments. Governor Scott vetoed the bill because of the potentially negative economic impact that it would have had on those spouses who were counting on receiving permanent alimony awards.
Supporters of the bill contended that the changes would have made alimony awards more predictable. Those opposing the bill often take the view that ending permanent alimony would have taken away some of the discretion that judges have to order this type of support when necessary. Many families have had one spouse stay at home to raise the children. These spouses sacrifice their careers for the good of the family. If they end up getting divorced later in life, this long absence can make it extremely difficult to reenter the workforce.
Under current state law, there are four types of spousal support available in Florida: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational or permanent. The court will examine the couple’s situation to determine the type and amount of alimony that should be ordered, such as the potential earning ability of each spouse after the divorce, the length of the marriage as well as the financial resources of the parties.
It is expected that there will be additional efforts to change the alimony laws within the state. Those thinking of filing for divorce may wish to consider the impact that a new law could have when trying to finalize their divorce.
If you are thinking of filing for divorce, it is important to speak to an experienced family law attorney about the process. You may not know what to expect, and you might be confused about the choices that you have to make at this time. An attorney can answer any questions that you may have, and help you prepare for the changes that will result after your divorce is final.