Florida House Bill 549 and Florida Senate Bill 748: Florida’s New Proposed Alimony Laws

States throughout the nation are revisiting their Alimony Laws and Florida is no different. Late last year, Florida Representative Ritch Workman and Senator Diaz de la Portilla filed similar bills that would change how alimony is calculated. Representative Workman filed Bill 549 and Senator Portilla filed Bill 748. See:

Those who oppose the Bill

Critics of the new piece of legislation stated that the new bill might pigeonhole women and men into relationships they do not want to be in anymore, because they may not be able to financially support themselves, thereby possibly having to stay in an unhealthy marriage. Currently, if there is a need for alimony and the other party can pay alimony, than alimony may be granted. In the current form, the bill would end permanent alimony; however, one can still receive payments for a certain time period.

Those who support the Bill

Supporters, such as the Florida Alimony Reform Organization, support the new legislation                                                                             ( Supporters of the bill argue that it is not fair for a person to pay alimony for the rest of that person’s life and there has to be some point of “end time,” similar to child support. Currently, child support payments generally end at the age of 18 or 19, depending on high school graduation.

My Thoughts

I do believe that there should be some change to the Alimony Laws on the books, however, how far that change should go is the question. Currently there is language in the SB 748 that states:


The court must reduce or terminate an award of alimony if it determines upon specific written findings by the court that since               the granting of a divorce and the award of alimony a supportive relationship has existed between the obligee and a                                 person with whom the obligee resides.

This proposed portion of the law makes sense if a party moves on with his or her life, and supports that the financial support from the ex-spouse should change as well. However, supportive relationship is defined a

A person is deemed to maintain a supportive relationship when he or she shares a primary residence together with or without            another person for a period of at least 3 continuous months in a common household.

I do not know if 3 months is enough time to modify or terminate alimony and establish that a supportive relationship has been established. However, the SB 748 states:

If an alimony award has been modified to terminate due to a supportive relationship and that supportive relationship does not             produce a marriage, the obligee is not  entitled to reinstatement of alimony from the obligor.

In the end, either side, supporters or non-supporters, will have valid arguments and finding that happy medium will be key; however, the best thing both parties should do before getting married to plan ahead for such concerns is enter and sign a PRENUPITAL AGREEMENT.




Marriage and Alimony

What is Alimony? Alimony/Spousal Support is where one spouse (husband or wife) financially helps the other spouse during or after a final order for a dissolution of marriage. Sometimes that assistance can take on different forms.

Different types of Alimony

Depending on the circumstances the following types of alimony may be awarded: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent in nature. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments, payments in lump sum, or both. The court may consider the adultery of either spouse or the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.


The length of the marriage will play a vital role in whether or not a person may be eligible for alimony. In order to award alimony, there has to be a need for the alimony and the ability of the spouse to pay for the alimony.In determining a proper award of alimony or maintenance, the court shall consider all relevant economic factors, including but not limited to the following factors:

-The standard of living established during the marriage.

-The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.

-The financial resources of each party, the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.

-When applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.

-The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, childcare, education, and career building of the other party.

-All sources of income available to either party.

-The court may consider any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

Alimony can be something that is used to help one party get back on his/her feet and become financially stable.