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Alimony reform is back again in the Florida legislature. The Florida House passed House Bill 549 on the first day of the session in January. The companion Senate Bill 748 started fast out of the gate but stalled at the end of January. Last week it was revived and amended. Here are the highlights of the pending alimony reform:
- Revises the factors used for awarding alimony in Florida
- Specifies that alimony is taxable to the recipient and deductible by payor
- Insurance to protect alimony only in special situations
- Allows termination of bridge-the-gap and and durational alimony based on supportive relationship
- Eliminates permanent alimony in favor of "long term" alimony
- Carifies that there is no reinstatement of alimony that terminated due to a supportive relationships and the court cannot reserve jurisdiction to reinstate it later.
- Sets out factors to consider when the payor spouse retires and does not intend to return to work
- Makes the passage of this bill a substantial change that warrants modification for those whose awards are over the caps in this bill and provides time frames that are based on the length of marriage
- Limits the court's ability to bifurcate the proceeding during the 180 days after the petition is served
The House Bill 549 has substantial differences. One thing the house version does is increase to 20 years the length of a"long term" marraige. That's up from the current 17 years. The House version also requires that alimony be modified once there is a finding of supportive relationship and presumes that alimony should be durational, not long-term.
Stay tuned and see what sort of alimony reform actually passes the Florida Legislature in 2012.