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Will Florida divorce its old alimony laws?

No matter what your financial circumstances have been throughout your marriage, now that you are facing a divorce, you probably have genuine concern for your future. If you spent many years staying home raising children or gave up a career so your spouse could relocate frequently with his or her job, you likely have few individual assets.

In fact, you may depend on your spouse for most of your needs. This is not an unusual situation. Nevertheless, many in Florida are eager for the legislative changes that will reform alimony, creating a more consistent system of awards.

Formula for uniformity

Currently, judges have a great deal of discretion when it comes to alimony. This may prevent you from predicting what your alimony judgement might be. As a result, negotiating with your soon-to-be ex may be difficult. Some previous alimony reform bills have included formulas for calculating alimony payments, and advocates of the reform expect any future bills to contain similar formulas, including:

  • The number of years you were married
  • The difference between your income and your spouse's
  • The length of time before you will receive Social Security
  • A maximum high and minimum low range of awards

Courts may still be able to grant more individualized alimony awards under certain circumstances, but the hope is that establishing a formula will save you and your former spouse the time and money of returning to court in the future for modification requests.

You may be concerned over reports that the alimony reform bill will eliminate permanent alimony. Perhaps because of your age, lack of job skills or inexperience in the workplace, you worry that limiting the amount of time you can receive alimony will make it impossible for you to survive financially after your divorce. However, if you have been married longer than 17 years, Florida currently awards lifetime alimony. The reformation may include that stipulation.

Maximizing your settlement

As negotiations for your divorce settlement approach, you want to be sure you obtain the maximum amount of your share of marital assets. In addition, your financial future may require that you receive some spousal support to maintain a standard of living. Fighting for these terms may not be easy.

Whether you are negotiating through a mediator or battling through litigation, you will want an advocate for your cause. Having an attorney to look out for your welfare and represent your best interests will ensure that you will obtain a fair settlement.

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