Over the last few years, there have been various attempts to “reform” Florida alimony laws. In April 2016, Governor Scott vetoed a bill due to a provision that had to due with a presumption that 50/50 time-sharing schedule was in the best interest of children.
With the beginning of a new legislative session, a version of a new alimony reform bill has been submitted to both the Senate and House of Representatives. Of course, both bills are subject to amendment while working their way through the legislative process.
The most prominent part of the proposed law is the establishment of alimony guidelines. Currently, judges have the discretion to award alimony after consideration of various statutory factors. The alimony guidelines would provide judges with a range for the amount and duration of alimony.
The low end of the range would be calculated as follows: .015 x (years of marriage) x (difference in the monthly gross incomes of the parties).
The high end of the range would be calculated as follows: .020 x (years of marriage) x (difference in the monthly gross incomes of the parties).
For purposes of calculating these values, the maximum duration of a marriage is 20 years. However, if the duration of the alimony is 50% or less of the duration of the marriage, then the Court shall use the actual duration of the marriage (up to a maximum of 25) when calculating the high end of the range.
The presumptive duration of the alimony award is between 25% and 75% of the duration of the marriage.
Under the bill, there would be a presumption against alimony where the marriage lasted less than 2 years.
As an example, suppose that a Husband and Wife have been married for 18 years and the Husband earns $4000 per month more than the Wife. The presumptive range of the Husband’s alimony payments would be between $1080 and $1440 and the presumptive duration would be between 4.5 years and 13.5 years.
A court could deviate from these guidelines if, after considering all the statutory factors, it found that the application of the ranges was inappropriate or inequitable.