Florida Senate - 2021 SB 1922



By Senator Gruters





23-01257-21 20211922__
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to dissolution of marriage; amending
3 s. 61.046, F.S.; revising the definition of the term
4 “income”; amending s. 61.08, F.S.; defining terms;
5 requiring the court to prioritize certain forms of
6 alimony; authorizing the court to grant permanent
7 alimony under certain circumstances; requiring the
8 court to make certain written findings in its awards
9 of alimony; prohibiting the court from denying or
10 granting an award of alimony solely on the basis of
11 adultery, with an exception; revising factors that the
12 court must consider in determining the proper type and
13 amount of alimony; authorizing a party to whom the
14 court has awarded alimony to purchase or maintain a
15 life insurance policy on the obligor’s life to protect
16 an award of alimony; requiring the obligor to
17 cooperate in the process of securing the life
18 insurance; deleting certain rebuttable presumptions
19 related to the duration of a marriage for purposes of
20 determining alimony; prohibiting an award of
21 rehabilitative alimony from exceeding specified
22 timeframes; revising a provision authorizing the
23 modification of rehabilitative alimony upon completion
24 of the rehabilitative plan to include a certain
25 timeframe; revising provisions related to durational
26 alimony; prohibiting the length of an award of
27 durational alimony from exceeding a specified
28 timeframe; specifying what constitutes the length of a
29 marriage for the purpose of determining durational
30 alimony; requiring the court to make certain written
31 findings when awarding durational alimony; providing a
32 formula for the calculation of durational alimony;
33 providing that a party who has reached retirement age
34 in accordance with specified provisions may not be
35 ordered to pay alimony; providing an exception;
36 establishing that alimony may not be awarded to a
37 party who has a certain monthly net income;
38 prohibiting social security retirement benefits from
39 being imputed to the obligor, with an exception;
40 requiring an obligee to meet certain requirements if
41 he or she alleges that a physical disability has
42 impaired his or her ability to earn the imputed
43 income; requiring the court to consider certain
44 payments made to the obligee when determining the
45 amount and length of rehabilitative or durational
46 alimony; providing applicability; amending s. 61.13,
47 F.S.; creating a presumption that equal time-sharing
48 is in the best interests of a child, with an
49 exception; providing applicability; deleting a
50 provision related to the development of a parenting
51 plan; amending s. 61.14, F.S.; authorizing the court
52 to order an obligee to reimburse alimony payments to
53 the obligor under certain circumstances; specifying a
54 timeframe for the court to consider a supportive
55 relationship between the obligee and another person
56 for purposes of reducing or terminating an award of
57 alimony or ordering reimbursement of alimony payments;
58 revising factors the court may consider when
59 determining whether a supportive relationship exists
60 or existed between the obligee and another person;
61 deleting the authority for the Department of Revenue
62 to adopt certain rules; providing that an obligor’s
63 subsequent remarriage or cohabitation is not a basis
64 for modification of alimony; providing that the income
65 and assets of the obligor’s subsequent spouse are
66 irrelevant to an action for modification of alimony;
67 requiring an alimony obligation to terminate upon the
68 obligor reaching full retirement age; providing an
69 exception; authorizing the court to terminate an
70 alimony obligation if the obligor retires at a
71 reasonable age for his or her profession or line of
72 work; requiring the court to consider certain factors
73 in determining whether the obligor’s retirement age is
74 reasonable; authorizing an obligor to prospectively
75 file a petition for modification or termination of
76 alimony, effective upon his or her retirement;
77 requiring a court to modify or terminate an alimony
78 award upon retirement of the obligor, with an
79 exception; providing that certain benefits of the
80 obligee constitute a change in circumstance for which
81 an obligor may seek modification of an alimony award;
82 providing that certain agreements on alimony payments
83 are considered expressly modifiable or eligible for
84 termination under certain circumstances; providing
85 applicability; amending s. 61.19, F.S.; requiring the
86 court to grant a final judgment of dissolution of
87 marriage and reserve jurisdiction to adjudicate other
88 substantive issues, under certain circumstances;
89 providing for temporary orders necessary to protect
90 the parties and their children, if any; providing that
91 such temporary orders are effective until all other
92 issues are adjudicated by the court; providing
93 applicability; providing an effective date.
94
95 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
96
97 Section 1. Subsection (8) of section 61.046, Florida
98 Statutes, is amended to read:
99 61.046 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
100 (8) “Income” means any form of payment to an individual,
101 regardless of source, including, but not limited to: wages,
102 salary, commissions and bonuses, compensation as an independent
103 contractor, worker’s compensation, disability benefits, annuity
104 and retirement benefits, pensions, dividends, interest,
105 royalties, trusts, and any other payments, made by any person,
106 private entity, federal or state government, or any unit of
107 local government. United States Department of Veterans Affairs
108 disability benefits and reemployment assistance or unemployment
109 compensation, as defined in chapter 443, are excluded from this
110 definition of income except for purposes of establishing an
111 amount of child support.
112 Section 2. Section 61.08, Florida Statutes, is amended to
113 read:
114 61.08 Alimony.—
115 (1) As used in this section, the term:
116 (a) “Alimony” means a court-ordered or voluntary payment of
117 support by one spouse to the other spouse. The term includes any
118 voluntary payment made after the date of filing of an order for
119 maintenance, spousal support, temporary support, or separate
120 support when the payment is not intended for the benefit of a
121 child in common.
122 (b) “Gross income” means gross income as determined in
123 accordance with s. 61.30.
124 (c) “Net income” means income that is determined by
125 subtracting allowable deductions from gross income. For purposes
126 of this section, allowable deductions include any of the
127 following:
128 1. Federal, state, or local income tax deductions, adjusted
129 for actual filing status and allowable dependents and income tax
130 liabilities.
131 2. Federal insurance contributions or self-employment tax.
132 3. Mandatory union dues.
133 4. Mandatory retirement payments.
134 5. Health insurance payments, excluding payments for
135 coverage of a minor child.
136 6. Court-ordered support for other children which is
137 actually paid.
138 7. Spousal support paid pursuant to a court order from a
139 previous marriage.
140 (2)(a)(1) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the
141 court may grant alimony to either party in the form of, which
142 alimony may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, or durational
143 alimony, or a permanent in nature or any combination of these
144 forms of alimony, but shall prioritize an award of bridge-the
145 gap alimony, followed by rehabilitative alimony, over any other
146 form of alimony. The court may grant permanent alimony only if
147 the parties enter into an agreement for permanent alimony. In an
148 any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments, or
149 payments in lump sum, or both.
150 (b) The court shall make written findings regarding the
151 basis for awarding a combination of forms of alimony, including
152 the type of alimony and the length of time for which the alimony
153 is awarded. The court may award a combination of forms of
154 alimony only to provide greater economic assistance in order to
155 allow the recipient to achieve rehabilitation.
156 (c) The court may consider the adultery of either spouse
157 and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of
158 alimony, if any, to be awarded. However, the adultery of a
159 spouse may not be the court’s sole basis for denying a request
160 for alimony or awarding alimony, unless the adultery contributed
161 to a depletion of marital assets. In all dissolution actions,
162 the court shall include written findings of fact relative to the
163 factors provided enumerated in subsection (3) (2) supporting the
164 an award or denial of alimony.
165 (3)(2) In determining whether to award alimony or
166 maintenance, the court shall first make a specific, written
167 factual determination as to whether the other either party has
168 an actual need for alimony or maintenance and whether the other
169 either party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance. If
170 the court finds that the a party seeking alimony has a need for
171 alimony or maintenance and that the other party has the ability
172 to pay alimony or maintenance, then in determining the proper
173 type and amount of alimony or maintenance under subsections (5),
174 (6), and (7) (5)-(8), the court shall consider all relevant
175 factors, including, but not limited to:
176 (a) The standard of living established during the marriage,
177 including the needs and necessities of life for each party after
178 the dissolution of marriage, taking into consideration the
179 presumption that both parties will have a lower standard of
180 living after the dissolution of marriage than the standard of
181 living they enjoyed during the marriage. This presumption may be
182 overcome by a preponderance of the evidence.
183 (b) The duration of the marriage.
184 (c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of
185 each party.
186 (d) The financial resources of each party, including the
187 nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to
188 each.
189 (e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational
190 skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable,
191 the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient
192 education or training to enable such party to find appropriate
193 employment.
194 (f) The contribution of each party to the marriage,
195 including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking,
196 child care, education, and career building of either the other
197 party.
198 (g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard
199 to any minor children whom the parties they have in common.
200 (h) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of
201 an any alimony award, including the designation of all or a
202 portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.
203 (i) All sources of income available to either party,
204 including income available to either party through investments
205 of any asset held by that party.
206 (j) Any other factor necessary for to do equity and justice
207 between the parties if such factor is specifically identified in
208 the award with findings of fact justifying the application of
209 such factor.
210 (4)(3) To the extent necessary to protect an award of
211 alimony, the obligee may court may order any party who is
212 ordered to pay alimony to purchase or maintain a life insurance
213 policy on the obligor’s life in an amount adequate to or a bond,
214 or to otherwise secure such alimony award with any other assets
215 which may be suitable for that purpose. If the obligee purchases
216 a life insurance policy, the obligor shall cooperate in the
217 process of procuring the issuance and underwriting of the life
218 insurance policy.
219 (4) For purposes of determining alimony, there is a
220 rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage
221 having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage
222 is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less
223 than 17 years, and long-term marriage is a marriage having a
224 duration of 17 years or greater. The length of a marriage is the
225 period of time from the date of marriage until the date of
226 filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.
227 (5) Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to assist a party
228 by providing support to allow the party to make a transition
229 from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony is
230 designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short
231 term needs, and the length of an award of bridge-the-gap alimony
232 may not exceed 2 years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony
233 terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage
234 of the party receiving alimony. An award of bridge-the-gap
235 alimony is shall not be modifiable in amount or duration.
236 (6)(a) Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a
237 party in establishing the capacity for self-support through
238 either:
239 1. The redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or
240 2. The acquisition of education, training, or work
241 experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or
242 credentials.
243 (b) In order to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be
244 a specific and defined rehabilitative plan which shall be
245 included as a part of any order awarding rehabilitative alimony.
246 (c) The length of an award of rehabilitative alimony may
247 not exceed 5 years or the limitations for durational alimony as
248 provided in subsection (7), whichever period of time is shorter.
249 (d) An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or
250 terminated in accordance with s. 61.14 based upon a substantial
251 change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the
252 rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the rehabilitative
253 plan if the plan is completed before the length of the award of
254 rehabilitative alimony expires.
255 (7)(a) Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent
256 periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational
257 alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set
258 period of time following a marriage of short or moderate
259 duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no
260 ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of
261 durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or
262 upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. The amount
263 of an award of durational alimony may be modified or terminated
264 based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon a
265 finding that a supportive relationship exists or existed between
266 the obligee and another person in accordance with s. 61.14.
267 However, The length of an award of durational alimony may not be
268 modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not
269 exceed 50 percent of the length of the marriage. For purposes of
270 this subsection, the length of a marriage is the period of time
271 beginning on the date of marriage and ending on the date an
272 action for dissolution of marriage is filed.
273 (b) When awarding durational alimony, the court must make
274 written findings that an award of another type of alimony, or a
275 combination of the other forms of alimony, is not appropriate.
276 (c) The amount of durational alimony is the amount
277 determined to be the obligee’s reasonable need or 25 percent of
278 the difference between the parties’ net incomes, whichever
279 amount is less.
280 (8) A party against whom alimony is sought who has met the
281 requirements for retirement in accordance with s. 61.14(12)
282 before the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage
283 may not b