Changes to Florida’s Alimony Laws May Spur Immediate Action, Reevaluation of Past Agreements by Sandi Perez, CPA/ABV/CFF, CFE

Posted on March 17, 2022 by Sandi Perez

The Florida legislature has finally made good on its decade-long attempt to change the state’s alimony laws, approving SB 1796 and sending it to Governor DeSantis. With the governor’s signature, the new law would go into effect on July 1, 2022, and apply to open cases as of that date and to new cases filed thereafter. However, because the new rules can be applied to previously closed cases that allow for modifications, there will likely be a rise in requests for alimony modifications and a need for recalculations of income and support based on both previous and current financial statements.

Among the various provisions included in the bill are an end to permanent alimony, stricter limitations on durational alimony and new calculations for determining alimony obligations, including those that extend post retirement age. Under most circumstances, the length of an award of durational alimony may not exceed:

·    50 percent of a marriage lasting between three and 10 years,

·    60 percent of the length of a marriage lasting between 10 and 20 years, or

·    75 percent of the length of a marriage lasting 20 years or longer.

The amount of durational alimony will be determined by a recipient’s reasonable need, or an amount not to exceed 35 percent of the difference between both parties’ net incomes, whichever amount is less. The language of the bill also presumes that both parties will have a lower standard of living after the marriage dissolution. Moreover, an alimony recipient’s supportive relationships will have an even greater influence on obligers’ requests to terminate payments than they did under prior law.

Regardless of the length of the original alimony agreement, an obligor may receive court approval to terminate alimony (subject to a four-year phase-out) when he or she reaches full retirement age (65) and files a notice on intent within one year of his or her planned retirement date, provided the original agreement allows for modification. An exception to this rule exists when the obligor earns “active gross income” of more than 50 percent of his or her average preretirement annual active gross income for the three years preceding his or her retirement age.

The Family Law Forensics team works with family law attorneys to uncover hidden facts, value assets, develop case strategy and provide credible and reliable expert testimony at mediations, hearings and trials. The team is lead by Sandi Perez, CPA/ABV/CFF, CFE For more information, please call (305) 379-7000 or email