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Important Updates and Changes in Florida Law on Alimony and Timesharing

There have been quite a few law changes here in Florida, effective July 1, 2023. Specific to family law matters are Fla. Stat. §61.08 (alimony) and Fla. Stat. §61.13 (timesharing).

Matrimonial and family law attorneys Cynthia Pyfrom and Jennifer E. Reisler of Pyfrom & Reisler, PA. share their knowledge of the Statutes. They stated, “While this is not an all-inclusive explanation of all changes to these two specific Statutes, it is important to note some of the major changes that became effective on July 1, 2023.”

FLA. STAT. §61.08 (ALIMONY)

Prior to July 1, 2023, permanent alimony was an available type of alimony under Fla. Stat. §61.08. However, Florida has now essentially abolished permanent alimony going forward. Thus, when parties get divorced in Florida, permanent alimony is no longer an available type of alimony the Court can award a spouse. What remains in the Statute is durational alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony, and rehabilitative alimony. The Court can also award a combination of various forms of alimony, including temporary alimony during the pendency of the divorce case.

Importantly, the Statute now gives parties and family law practitioners much more specific direction in determining an appropriate amount of durational alimony. The requesting party is still required to prove a “need” for the alimony. Once that “need” is proven, the Court can then award an amount for a specific duration of time. The maximum duration an award of alimony can last depends on the length the actual marriage lasted. How does a Court determine the length of the marriage? From date of marriage to date of filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. A marriage lasting between zero to ten years in length could result in an award of durational alimony up to a maximum of 50% of the length of the marriage. A marriage lasting between ten to twenty years in length could result in an award of durational alimony up to a maximum of 60% of the length of the marriage. Lastly, a marriage lasting more than twenty years in length could result in an award of duration alimony up to a maximum of 75% of the length of the marriage.

Once the duration of the alimony is determined, the amount of alimony awarded depends on the actual “need” the requesting party has for that financial support, but most importantly, any amount of durational alimony awarded is capped out at a maximum of 35% of the difference between the net incomes of the parties.

This is a simplified explanation, as issues could arise that could affect the ultimate determination, including the income of the parties (whether one is underemployed or unemployed), as well as actual need versus desire. There are a lot of specific factors a Judge and/or family law practitioner needs to know to determine an accurate and fair alimony amount.

FLA. STAT. §61.13 (TIMESHARING):

One of the biggest changes made to this specific Statute is the addition of a presumption that equal timesharing is in the best interest of the minor child(ren). Before these recent statutory changes, there was no presumption about what timesharing schedule would be best for children. Now, the presumption of equal timesharing is where the analysis starts. If one parent believes equal timesharing is not in the best interests of a child in common, that parent carries the burden to prove to the Judge why. So, it is important to know and review all the statutory factors the Court must take into consideration when analyzing this issue to ultimately determine if the equal timesharing presumption is in the best interest of a child in any given case, or if the Judge should award majority timesharing to one parent over the other.

This Statute outlines a list of factors that detail what, exactly, the Court is required to analyze in making this determination. It is essential to be prepared when presenting facts and evidence to a Judge in hope of persuading the Judge to award a timesharing schedule that is not equal among the parents. The presentation of a case and evidence is key to getting what you want in court.

Many other changes have been made to these Statutes, as well as many other Florida Statutes, so it is extremely important to consult with a reputable and knowledgeable local family law attorney so you are fully prepared for any fight you may have ahead of you.

The office of Pyfrom & Reisler, PA is always available to answer your legal questions. Contact them today to set up your consultation.

PYFROM & REISLER, PA Matrimonial & Family Law
1500 Gateway Blvd., Suite 220
Boynton Beach, Florida 33426
(561) 203-5940
www.pyfrom-reislerpa.com

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