Firm Shield

Firm Shield

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Florida Alimony Amendments Effective: JULY 1, 2011

The following amendments with regard to alimony will go into effect on July 1, 2011.  They will apply to all initial awards of alimony entered after July 1, 2011 and to all modifications of alimony made after July 1, 2011.  However, the amendments cannot be used as a basis to modify awards (by either amount or duration) entered before July 1, 2011.  The amendments will apply to all cases pending on or filed after July 1, 2011.

The following changes do not effect the language used in drafting agreements or in final judgments which are simply adopting agreements as to alimony.  However, the amendments do create specific requirements for findings of facts and written findings when alimony is awarded by the court .  Therefore, it is essential for all counsel to encourage the judiciary to make the required findings of fact when applicable.  Further counsel needs to make sure that proper language is utilized in proposed final judgments (after trial) which are submitted to the Court.  Otherwise, your client may have to face a costly appeal which may result in a remand for the Court to make the appropriate written findings.

No award of alimony may leave the paying party with significantly less net income than the net income of the receipient unless there are WRITTEN findings of EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

Long Term Marriage (Over 17 years): IF such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the eight factors:
a) The standard of living established during the marriage,
b) The duration of the marriage,
c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party,
d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each,
e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment
f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party,
g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common,
h) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment,
i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party,
j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

Moderate Duration Marriage (7 to 17 years):
You can get permanent alimony IF such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the above factors if the award is based upon CLEAR and CONVINCING evidence

Short Duration Marriage (0 to 7 years):
You can get permanent alimony IF there are WRITTEN FINDINGS of exceptional circumstances.

Regardless of length of marriage, if Permanent Periodic alimony is awarded there MUST a finding that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties.

Can be allowed in long term marriages as opposed to permanent periodic alimony if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis.

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