Leonard S. Villafranco P.A.

HB231: Dissolution of Marriage

Alimony Reform Bill, HB 231, passed the Civil Justice Subcommittee on February 13, 2013 by a majority VOTE of 10-2.

HB231 would take steps to rein in the amount of time that alimony payments could be required, trying to circumvent alimony in marriages of 10 years or less and protecting retirees from alimony obligations. This bill would eliminate the concept of permanent alimony. Judges would have the discretion to extend what is called “durational” alimony for long periods of time when necessary. This bill would limit such durational alimony to 50 percent of the length of the marriage, unless one of the divorcing spouses could show by “clear and convincing evidence that exceptional circumstances justify the need for a longer award of alimony.” Another controversial part of the bill would provide that alimony payments automatically terminate upon the payee spouse’s normal retirement age for social security retirement benefits and the payor’s attainment of retirement age and the payor’s actual retirement constitutes a “substantial change in circumstances” which may warrant a reduction or termination of alimony. This bill would allow what is known as “retroactivity,’’ which could lead to modification or reduction of already-existing alimony arrangements.

HB231 also revises factors to be considered in alimony awards; provides that an award of alimony automatically terminates without further action under certain circumstances; provides that the party seeking alimony has burden of proof; requires court to consider specified factors when determining type and amount of alimony; provides for imputation of income in certain circumstances; provides for offset of or other consideration of alimony obligation in determining equitable distribution or child support in certain circumstances; provides that alimony order be modified upon showing of substantial change in circumstances by clear & convincing evidence; provides that increase in an obligor’s income may not be considered permanent in nature until maintained for specified period; provides for attorney fees & costs if obligee unnecessarily or unreasonably litigates petition for modification or termination; revises provisions relating to effect of supportive relationship on alimony; allows separate adjudication of issues in certain circumstances; provides applicability.
Effective Date: July 1, 2013


Port St Lucie and Stuart Family Law Attorney

SB 718: Dissolution of Marriage

Revising factors to be considered for alimony awards; requiring a court to make written findings regarding the basis for awarding a combination of forms of alimony, including the type of alimony and length of time for which it is awarded; revising provisions relating to the protection of awards of alimony; prohibiting an alimony award from being modified providing that if the court orders alimony concurrent with a child support order, the alimony award may not be modified because of the later modification or termination of child support payments, etc.

Effective Date: July 1, 2013

If you have questions about the alimony reform bill, how it may affect you, or if you think you have a case regarding alimony please contact a St. Lucie County attorney at the Law Office of Leonard S. Villafranco P.A. today to schedule a consultation.  Martin County Attorney Leonard S. Villafranco is  knowledgeable regarding the Florida Alimony Reform, and is ready to assist you in any and all family law matters.


(772) 288-7338 Stuart Office

(772) 871-6441 Port Saint Lucie Office