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Florida's alimony laws may see reform

When a marriage ends in divorce, the couple must make many decisions. Some of the most difficult issues to resolve have to do property division and child custody, as well as child support and alimony payments that will continue well after the divorce becomes final.

Bread-winning spouses who are struggling with alimony payments in Florida might be able to breathe a little easier if pending legislation that will eliminate permanent alimony payments in the state becomes law. Florida law allows alimony to be awarded for life, which often equates to years of payments that last longer than the actual marriage. Many people who are subject to this type of alimony arrangement wind up postponing retirement indefinitely to keep up with the spousal support.

The bill will also make several other changes to current laws regarding alimony in Florida. Social security retirement benefits, for example, will no longer be made available for alimony. If the paying spouse remarries, the new spouse's income and assets would not be subject to any current alimony orders. Most importantly, existing alimony orders could be recalculated based on a formula that takes the length of the marriage into account.

Alimony is usually awarded in a high-asset divorce or when one spouse has left the workforce to raise children and take care of the home. Anyone who may be subject to spousal support payments should become very familiar with current legislation before coming to any alimony agreement.

Source : Digital Journal, "Alimony reform a hot issue in Florida family law," Feb. 28, 2013

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