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Florida alimony laws may finally change this year

For Floridians, one of the perennial issues that seems to come around every few legislative cycles is alimony — and 2017 is shaping up to be just such a cycle. Although alimony reforms featured prominently in 2016, and an alimony bill did make it through the legislature, it was vetoed at the Governor's desk and sent back to square one.

Most of the calls for alimony reform are born out of what many see as an excess in the discretion granted to the courts when making alimony rulings. As it stands, Florida's alimony laws are such that situations with substantially similar elements often end in drastically different decisions, all because of who happened to be ruling on them.

More specifically, much of the frustration with the current system stems from permanent alimony, and whether it should be done away with altogether. As the issue stands, most cases in Florida only consider permanent long-term alimony in cases where the marriage lasted at least 17 years. Under some of the potential new legislation, there would be much clearer guidelines to determine when alimony is to be ordered, what percentage of the owing spouse's income it might be and how long alimony must be paid.

However the potential legislation plays out, it will likely create a more uniform system for predicting an alimony order — although extenuating circumstances will still have room for consideration, and courts will have avenues for making rulings that do not necessarily align with the guidelines.

If you are divorcing, alimony is only one factor in many that must be carefully considered in a successful divorce negotiation. With the guidance of reputable attorney with years of experience in divorce law, you can negotiate with confidence and know that your rights will be protected throughout this difficult season.

Source: Daily Business Review, "Florida May Again Consider Alimony Reform Bill," Jeffrey A. Weissman., Dec. 28, 2016

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