If you are paying alimony to an ex-spouse in Florida, you may wonder how long the obligation will last. It depends on the provisions of your divorce decree, but according to WFSU, Florida is one of six states that allow spousal support to remain a lifetime commitment.

Several state lawmakers tried to change this in the last legislative session by introducing and sponsoring a bill that would have done away with the definition of permanent alimony in the statutes. It would also have put caps on the duration of other types of spousal support.

Although the bill failed to pass, many people in Florida have opinions about alimony, so the state legislature may take up the issue again. Therefore, you should understand the various arguments for and against this alimony reform bill.

Opposition

The bill met with opposition from the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar. An attorney speaking on behalf of the Bar raised multiple objections. The most significant of these was that although the bill would have struck language from the law defining permanent alimony, it did not do away with permanent alimony altogether. Divorcing spouses could still agree on a permanent alimony arrangement, but not having it defined in the law could wreak havoc during divorce proceedings.

Support

One of the bill’s sponsors said that by prioritizing short-term “bridge-the-gap” alimony arrangements over those continuing indefinitely, it would help to incentivize relationships between ex-spouses after the divorce. The bill would also have released the alimony payor from his or her obligation upon reaching retirement age. With the obligation ended, the payor would no longer be subject to enforcement measures for non-payment, allowing him or her to retire with dignity, according to the bill’s sponsor.