For those thinking about divorce, especially those who have been married for decades, the recent back-and-forth over the voiding of permanent alimony has likely been on their radar. Indeed, for months, this has been an issue that has bounced back and forth between both Florida chambers until it was ultimately sent to the governor’s desk. But, he vetoed it.
What does that veto mean?
Governor DeSantis’ veto of SB 1796 means that permanent alimony is still the law here. He vetoed it because he claimed that the law would apply retroactively, which he felt was unfair. Supporters disagree with the veto as they claim it gave ex-spouses pathways to retirement. In addition, they point out that it also made equal child custody sharing the default presumption, which is not the case currently in Florida.
What types of alimony are still legal?
Our state has four categories of alimony: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational and because of that veto, permanent. Each has different legal intention and duration.
A common form of alimony is bridge-the-gap alimony because this form of alimony “bridges the gap” between married and single life. It is short-term (less than two years), and it is only allowable for identifiable support reasons, like living expenses until property can be sold.
Rehabilitative alimony is another common type of allowable alimony. This type of alimony is to help a spouse that was not working during the marriage to transition back into the workforce. This alimony must be defined for training, education or getting work experience and credentials. Though, it can only last for the time needed for that “rehabilitation” plan.
Durational alimony is more common in New Port Richey, Florida, gray divorces, which are divorces between spouses over the age of 50. This type of alimony is awarded when short-term, bridge-the-gap alimony is insufficient, but permanent alimony is also not justified. The maximum duration is the length of the marriage, and it is usually used to help the recipient reach retirement age when they qualify for their retirement benefits and would no longer need alimony.
This type of alimony is rare. It is only given when there is no way for the spouse to become self-supporting. This is done when the spouse has been out of work for decades.