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Alimony Reform Legislation Slapped Down Again


If you’ve pinned your hopes on legislative action to reduce your alimony payments, you’re going to be disappointed.  Despite promises to overhaul what some consider pernicious alimony laws, the legislature kicked the can down the road one more time.

A Battle with Warriors on Both Sides 

The battle over alimony laws in the Sunshine State has been going on for years, with both sides barring no expense to win.  Large lobbying firms have been clamoring to convince legislators that their perspective is the correct one, with the status quo winning out for now.  At issue is the length of time breadwinners are required to make payments to their exes, forcing many to work well beyond their desired retirement dates in order to support their former spouses.

Alimony in Multiple Flavors 

Generally speaking, higher earning spouses may be ordered to pay alimony to lesser earning spouses under current law.  But the type and amount of award is dependent on circumstances of the case, including length of marriage, earning and education levels of each person, and more.  The types of alimony include:

  • Permanent alimony is exactly what it sounds like: it lasts for a lifetime.  It was designed for couples that have been married for 17+ years when one partner has spent the majority of that time outside of the workforce, raising the kids and taking care of the home.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony, on the other hand, is awarded in shorter-term marriages when one partner was not in the workforce and allows for a spouse to get education or training in order to become gainfully employed. It is temporary and designed just to give the non-working spouse a leg up in the future. 
  • Bridge-the-Gap Alimony is designed to address short-term requirements of a lesser-earning spouse during the transition from married to single life. It might be a stopgap measure while the family home is up for sale, during a move, or as a way to get additional education, for example, and lasts only a couple of years or less.
  • Temporary Alimony is simply meant to pay for the actual costs of the divorce and terminates once the divorce is final.
  • Lump Sum Alimony usually is a part of the asset distribution and occurs just the one time.

Changes to Alimony 

Current law allows for certain modifications in some cases.  Although bridge-the-gap alimony cannot be altered, rehabilitative alimony could be terminated if, say, the receiving spouse was not actually attending school or training classes.  In the case of rehabilitative, permanent, or durational alimony, changes in the amount of payment could occur if the financial circumstances of either partner changed.  Proponents of legislative changes to alimony requirements are most focused on permanent alimony.  Some claim that in many cases individuals who are receiving payment put off marrying because they don’t want to give up their alimony checks. As noted earlier, that battle will continue for at least another year.

A Lawyer Who’s on Your Side 

The experienced Boca Raton alimony attorneys at WiseLieberman work aggressively on your behalf in order to secure the best possible outcomes in your divorce.  Schedule a confidential consultation today.



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