Examining Florida’s Permanent Alimony Statute

Florida remains one of the very few states which still grant permanent alimony, to the grief of many divorcees. In the past several years, multiple bills have been proposed in the Florida legislature for removing permanent alimony from Florida law, without success. 2022 is yet another chance for permanent alimony to be removed, and last year’s bill was very close to passing, so there is a very real possibility that we will see change this year. Heather Bryan Law, P.A. doesn’t take sides on this matter – there are important arguments on both sides, and the criticality of permanent alimony varies greatly from case to case. What is best for you is much more important to us than blanket statements on the issue. Today we’re examining the arguments of both sides to better understand the reasoning behind this debate.

In Favor of Permanent Alimony

Strong arguments for permanent alimony stem from the receiving spouse being in a disadvantaged position on their own because of sacrifices made for the marriage, such as putting their career on hold to take care of children. Leaving a job to have children leaves these people without direct income, and for stay-at-home parents, it could leave a years-long gap in their resume that makes getting a new career very difficult. 

Some also have a reasonable expectation of care that they received in their marriage, which they will no longer receive, and as such need compensation to continue their quality of life. This is especially pertinent to spouses who are disabled and received support and care from their partner, and now have to find ways to continue independently. 

The Opposition to Permanent Alimony

Those hoping for the removal of permanent alimony generally posit arguments focused on the intent of the receiving spouse. Two of these points are that permanent alimony disincentivizes remarriage and taking a higher-paying job for the receiving spouse. To receive the alimony, the spouse must prove a “need” for the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage, which includes many things you may consider non-essential. The idea behind this is that their quality of life shouldn’t drop drastically because of the divorce, but critics of permanent alimony argue that this is unnecessary. 

Another big issue is that modification of the alimony is difficult for most people. Adjusting alimony means going back to court, and isn’t guaranteed, which could lead to a costly hassle for divorcees. Those opposed have also taken issue with the previously introduced versions of the bill, which didn’t disallow permanent alimony altogether, merely removing the language about it from the law. That means that existing permanent alimony cases would persist, and divorcees could still argue for it in their case. Allowing for the practice to continue without a clear definition of the law could cause trouble down the road.

Whether you’re entering into a divorce, or have one previously and want to adjust your permanent alimony, Heather Bryan Law, P.A. can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and allow us to re-evaluate your divorce case.

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Heather Bryan Law, P.A.

Our firm has experience defending Floridians against all sorts of criminal charges. Additionally, we are well-equipped to handle emotionally charged family law matters and devastating personal injury cases.

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