Alimony has long been declared a “dirty” word in divorce. A spouse who earns the lionshare of the money in a marriage never wants to pay it and the spouse who doesn’t earn those funds, almost always wants it. Florida seems to be trying to become more in line with the majority of the rest of the states to remove permanent alimony. For the second time in Governor Scott’s tenure as governor, the Florida Senate and House tried to change the way we look at alimony. Governor Scott vetoed the first bill because it removed entitlements to permanent alimony that had been previously awarded. Had Governor Scott not vetoed the bill, it would most likely have created a group of individuals dependent on the State of Florida for their income. The most recent bill died, not because Governor Scott vetoed it, but because the Senate refused to remove a provision that included a presumption that equal time share in every custody case was in a child’s best interest. The hope by many family attorneys in Florida, is that a bill will pass that will provide actual guidelines for the court to refer to when making an award of alimony. Family law attorneys have no bright line rule when it comes to an amount of alimony that might be awarded. For now, the previous rules still apply:
A short term marriage is one that lasts 7 years or less. There is a presumption that no alimony should be awarded, albeit a rebuttable one. A marriage that lasts between 7 and 17 is a gray area marriage. There is no presumption in favor or against. Alimony if awarded in a gray area marriage is limited to one-half the length of marriage. Marriages which last for more than 17 years are considered long term. In a divorce dealing with a long term marriage, there is a presumption in favor of an award of permanent alimony.