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Two Major Changes to Florida Law Your Family Needs to Know About

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed two new laws that took effect just days ago – July 1, 2023. One pertains to alimony reform and the other impacts unmarried fathers. Both laws significantly change previous laws in the state and the content we’ve written on this page, so we want to give you an update on what these laws mean for your family.

Florida Alimony Reform

Let’s start with Senate Bill 1416. This bill alters how alimony will be adjudicated in Florida for all divorce filings that are filed or pending on or after July 1, 2023, as well as petitions to modify previous alimony orders.

Permanent alimony is now a thing of the past in Florida. We previously wrote about the types of alimony in Florida, but this eliminates the permanent alimony element. This leaves temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational alimony in place.

Bridge-the-gap can be up to two years, rehabilitative can be up to five years, and durational cannot last longer than 50% the duration of a marriage between 3-10 years, 60% the duration of a marriage between 11-20 years, and 75% of marriages lasting longer than 20 years. Couples married for less than three years are no longer eligible for alimony.

Much of the public support for this bill came from Floridians who are paying alimony but are at or above the retirement age. Part of this new law allows those payers to file for a modification of the previous alimony order when they are ready for retirement. Judges can reduce or terminate the alimony after receiving the petition by considering the customary retirement age, economic impact, and the impact reducing or eliminating alimony would have on the recipient.

Contrary to some reports, Florida remains a no-fault divorce state. However, adultery and its economic impacts will now be considered in calculating alimony payments.

Unmarried Florida Fathers Have New Pathway to Paternity

House Bill 775 authorizes the father of a child born out of wedlock to establish paternity and makes changes to time-sharing schedules. Supports suggest this allows unmarried fathers to assume the same role and responsibilities as married fathers, thus providing more for the children in question.

This law makes it so these fathers do not have to go through a court battle to establish paternity and earn custody rights. Instead, the father gets these rights as long as he and the child’s mother sign a voluntary agreement acknowledging paternity. When both parties sign the child’s birth certificate they are also signing an acknowledgement of paternity.

Doing so provides a 50/50 split in responsibilities and rights to decisions including healthcare, education, visitation, and other matters for the child. Previously, Florida did not have an assumed 50/50 time split for parents.

This not only takes some of the forced responsibilities off of Florida mothers but also adds rights and responsibilities to fathers who take part in the equal commitment of having a child.

At The FAB Law Firm, we support Florida fathers and mothers. If you and your family need help understanding or navigating what these new laws mean for you, contact our law firm for the representation you deserve today.

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