Divorce in Florida, especially alimony and child support have been changed when House Bill 907 was signed into law yesterday. This bill was merely waiting for the signature of the Governor, as it had passed the House and the Senate.
Florida's alimony laws have been under consideration for change for some time. The statute which previously guided our Judges on issues of alimony was ambiguous at best, because it lacked clear definitions of "duration" for the award of alimony or types to be considered. It was basically a case-by-case analysis with the aid of case law. Lawyers knew what to do with very short term marriages and long-term marriages but everything else was a "best guess." The new law gives the Court more guidance as far as length of marriage and other factors to consider. The following have been codified by this bill:
- Adds "durational" alimony or alimony for a set period of "short" or "moderate" period of time.
- Adds specific guidelines for length of marriage, and defines various types of alimony. Allows for award of more than one type of alimony; and revises factors to be considered in whether to award alimony or maintenance
- Adds tax consequences and child care responsibilities as factors the court should consider when awarding alimony.
- Recognizes "bridge-the-gap" short-term alimony so that those in the 5th District Court of Appeal (which includes Ocala, Inverness, Bushnell) will finally have access to this type of support.
A big change on the child support side of the bill was that it added back the 25% of daycare that was taken away. So now instead of getting a 75% credit for paying daycare, the parent that is paying it gets 100% credit, Also, another HUGE change was that "substantial Parenting Time" was reduced from 40% time-sharing (or 147 overnights) down to 20% time sharing (73 overnights). Hopefully, this will mean less fighting over that "mid-week overnight."