Florida Ends Permanent Alimony by Sandra Perez, CPA/ABV/CFF, CFE

Posted on July 05, 2023 by Sandi Perez

On June 30, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 1416, which brings significant changes to the state’s alimony laws, including eliminating permanent alimony from the statutes. The new law, which went into effect on July 1, 2023, applies to petitions for dissolution of marriage filed or pending on that date or later. It cannot be applied retroactively to previously settled divorce agreements.

In addition to replacing permanent alimony with durational alimony, the new law revises the definitions of marriage duration and provides the courts with new guidelines for determining alimony awards. For example, the amount of alimony a court may award is limited to the reasonable needs of the party seeking financial support, and it may not exceed 35 percent of the difference between both parties’ net income. The maximum duration of spousal support for short-term marriages, now defined as those lasting less than 10 years, is 50 percent of the length of the marriage. Moderate-term marriages spanning 10 to 20 years may qualify for durational alimony that lasts up to 60 percent of the length of the marriage, and the maximum duration of alimony for long-term marriages lasting more than 20 years is 75% of the marriage period.

The law also introduces new rules for modifying alimony awards in the future due to a payor’s retirement or the recipient’s cohabitation with another adult with whom a supportive relationship exists. For example, payors may request a modification of spousal support when they reach full retirement age as defined by the Social Security Administration, which is age 67 for individuals born after 1960. They must demonstrate that their retirement makes them unable to continue paying their current financial obligation and address the following factors that the courts will consider when making its ruling: motivation for retirement, the likelihood they will return to work, and whether the payor or recipient wastefully depleted the marital assets they received pursuant to the final judgment of marriage dissolution. In these situations, a net worth analysis conducted by forensic experts can be prudent.

Similarly, when addressing alimony modification requests based on recipients’ cohabitation with another adult, the burden is on the payor to prove that a supportive relationship exists. The burden then shifts to the alimony recipient to prove otherwise. Some of the factors the courts consider when weighing proof of an alimony recipient’s supportive relationship include pooling assets or income in a joint account with the cohabitating or supportive adult, receiving financial support in the form of payments of expenses and debts, providing services to a cohabitant’s business, and working with the cohabitant to acquire or enhance the value of any assets. Again, a forensic tracing and analysis of the alimony recipient’s accounts and assets are material in proving a successful claim for modification of alimony.

advisors and CPAs with Berkowitz Pollack Brant’s Family Law Forensics practice have deep experience simplifying complex financial matters before, during and after divorce. Their forensic skills and keen understanding of the law enable them to uncover hidden facts, value assets, develop case strategies and provide credible and reliable expert testimony at mediations, hearings and trials.

About the Author: Sandra Perez, CPA/ABV/CFF, CFE, is director of the Family Law Forensics practice with Berkowitz Pollack Brant, where she works with attorneys and high-net-worth individuals with complex assets to prepare financial affidavits, value business interests, analyze income and net-worth analysis and calculate alimony and child support obligations in all areas of divorce proceedings. She can be reached at the CPA firm’s Boca Raton, Fla., office at (561) 361-2000 or