Recently the Florida Legislature passed new laws that will impact the issue of alimony in Florida divorces. These significant changes to Florida family law affect the types of alimony, and may alter how much an individual may receive in alimony and for how long he or she may receive it. These changes are sure to be controversial and each party to a Florida divorce should consult with their Tampa family law attorney in order to address each statutory change and analyze how the changes may impact their case.
One significant change to the alimony statute can be found in Florida Statute Section 61.08(4). This change codifies the rebuttable presumptions for marriage lengths that had previously been defined by case law. Specifically, the new statute establishes that a short term marriage is defined as a marriage less than seven years. A moderate term marriage, (formerly known as a "gray area marriage") is defined as a marriage that is greater than 7 years but less than 17 years. Last, the new Florida statute establishes a long term marriage as a marriage that is seventeen years or greater.
Florida Statute 61.08(4) became effective on July 1, 2010. The new law still measures the length of marriage from the date of the marriage until the date of filing for dissolution of marriage action. These factors are significant, as a crucial element in addressing an alimony award is how long the parties have been married. Each party should address these issues with their Tampa family law attorney.