It appears that Florida is in for some significant changes in alimony. SB 718, the Alimony Reform Bill, has been passed by the Florida Senate with some amendments. There is a high probability that this bill will continue through the legislative process and become law as early as this July.
Many people do not realize that alimony is solely a creature of statute. That means that alimony was unknown in the “common law.” What the legislature granted the legislature can take away. And this legislature is positioned to make sweeping changes to the current statutory framework of alimony.
It is beyond the scope of this article to describe all of the changes set forth in the proposed bill. They are extensive and generally favor the party who is, or will be, paying alimony. Until the final version is signed by the Governor, we won’t know exactly what this new law will mean to alimony payors and alimony recipients.
Why is it important for the clients of Hicks & Motto to know about the new alimony reform bill? Well, we believe that knowledge is power, and individual clients who could be affected by the proposed bill may want to call their legislative representatives.
Also, persons who have an existing alimony order should have their situation reviewed by an expert in family law. Alimony recipients may need to adjust their future expectations and be proactive against modifications which may be coming, including automatic reductions when the payor reaches retirement age.
Alimony payors need to have their situations reviewed in order to determine if they should be preparing to file a petition for modification. But most importantly, people who are about to file for divorce, or who are presently in the middle of a divorce, should insist that their counsel understand the probable changes brought on by the Alimony Reform bill. These changes can significantly impact negotiations and trial strategy. If you have any questions about the changes in the alimony law, or any family law or divorce matter, Hicks & Motto is here to help.