Divorce Attorney Scott J. Stadler

    • 02 APR 15

    Florida Alimony Amendment

    An amendment was filed on March 24th for the Senate Bill.  This is a clear indication of how massive changes can be made as these bills go through the process.  Caution is advised that more changes may have happened even before you read this email.

    A comparison of the new proposal with the prior Senate proposal has the following differences (not all listed):

    1. The proposed law is now retroactive in that it applies to all OPEN cases on the effective date, initial determinations and modifications of alimony.

    2. Temporary support is based on need and ability (not guidelines).

    3. The low end alimony multiple is changed from .0125 to .015.

    4. Maximum years to calculate alimony can be up to 25 years if the duration of alimony is 50% or less of the years of the marriage.  This allows for a higher amount for a lower number of years.  Prior version allowed use of the total years of the marriage for this alternate calculation.

    5. The 55% limit is a calculated without any consideration of alimony or child support obligations.  (Question for your consideration: Does this mean that the net is calculated with higher taxes deducted that won’t really be going to the IRS due to the alimony deduction?  Proposed law still does not contain an exact definition of net income.)

    6. Provides limited provisions for security for alimony.

    7. Modification can be pursued if the recipient’s income goes up by 10%.

     

    An analysis of the original senate bill can be found here. This chart outlines various alimony amounts based on different lengths of marriage and disparity of income, note that the low end may not have been updated for the latest change from .0125 to .015.

    Points to ponder and questions to consider on Senate Bill 1248 and/or House Bill 0943:

    1. Does someone married 5 years really need less money to live on while they get back on their feet than someone married 15 or 20 years?

    2. Someone married 35 years has the duration of their alimony calculated as if married 20 years.  Unless they get only 50% of the duration of the marriage in term of alimony then 25 years can be used in the calculation.  (So the recipient can get more money but for less time.)

    3. The proposed law provides that, unless otherwise stated, the alimony is taxable / deductible without regard to the fact that state law cannot change the federal tax laws which have several requirements for alimony to be taxable / deductible. (Supremacy Clause)

    4. Alimony awards may be subject to recapture if they do not extend into the third year.

    5. Increase in obligor’s income is not basis for modification if they were under or unemployed and NOT imputed income at their maximum potential income.

    6. Do you think the court is going to impute income at a maximum for someone under or unemployed?

    7. Does this mean if a person has a temporary job at half of their former pay at the dissolution and the court uses that job as their income for alimony and child support that when they get another job at 75% or 100% of their former pay or more (maximum potential) there is no modification?

    8. Six months of involuntarily reduced income entitles obligor to immediately seek modification.