The Florida Bar
American Bar Association
Weston Florida Chamber of Commerce

Changes to Florida Statute Section 61.08 Awarding Alimony

As of July 1, 2010, Section 61.08, was amended so that Section 61.08 vows:

  1. Allows an award of more than one type of alimony;
  2. Revises the factors to be considered in awarding alimony;
  3. Provides a rebuttable presumption for the classification of the length of marriage
  4. Provides for the determination of the length of a marriage;
  5. Provides for an award of non-modifiable bridge-the-gap alimony for a limited period;
  6. Provides for an award of modifiable rehabilitative alimony in certain circumstances;
  7. Provides for an award of modifiable durational alimony in certain, circumstances;
  8. Provides for an award of modifiable permanent alimony in certain circumstances.

In a Divorce action, the court may grant either party, which may by bridge-the gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent in nature or any combination of these forms of alimony. The Court may order periodic payments or payments in a lump sum or both.

The Court may consider adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony if any. The Court must make specific findings as to an award or denial thereof. The Court first must determine specifically whether either party has an actual need for alimony or maintenance and whether either party has an ability to pay alimony.

The factors to determine alimony are as followed:

  1. Standard of living established during the marriage.
  2. Duration of the marriage.
  3. Age, physical and emotional condition of each party.
  4. Financial resources of the parties both non-marital and marital assets and liabilities.
  5. The earning capacities, education levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and when applicable the time necessary to acquire education or training to find appreciate employment.
  6. The contribution of each party to the marriage homemaking, child care and career building of the other.
  7. Responsibility towards the parties’ minor children.
  8. Tax consequences to the parties.
  9. All other sources of income such as investments.
  10. Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

Based upon the new law, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is 7 years or less in duration. A moderate-term marriage is 7-17 years. A long-term marriage is 17 years and more. The length of a marriage is determined by the date of the marriage until time of filing.

Bridge-the-gap alimony is non-modifiable and is designed to assist a party with legitimate short-term needs and should not exceed two years.

Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to help a party to become self-supporting developing skills, training, or education. A specific defined plan should be included part of a request or reward.

Durational Alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. This is to provide economic assistance for a set period of time in a shorter moderate length marriage.

Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs of life following a dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of ling duration or for specific facts under a durational or short-term marriage.

The changes in the Alimony Statute were done to get specific guidelines to Judges and to remove their discretion in making determination of awards of Alimony.

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