Recent Changes to Florida Family Law

family law changes

On July 1st, 2023, a new Florida law – CS/SB 1416 – regarding family law matters went into effect. These sweeping changes affect things like alimony, child custody, paternity, and modifications. 

We’ll break down each change so that you can understand how this may affect your previous or upcoming divorce.

Family Law Changes

Adultery Can Now Be Considered When Deciding Alimony

Adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their spouse. In Florida, the court did not consider adultery as one of the factors when deciding if a spouse was going to be awarded alimony. 

Now, that’s changed. How adultery should be considered hasn’t been defined yet though. This means that the spouse who committed adultery may have a higher chance of having their claim of alimony rejected or having alimony imposed on them.

The Burden of Proof For Alimony Now Falls on the Requesting Party

Before, if alimony was requested, the court would request information regarding both spouses’ financials, education, previous and current earnings, along with their current division of assets. Based on this information, they would decide if one partner needed alimony and how much the other partner could afford to pay.

Now, the partner asking for alimony has a burden of proof, which means they must present evidence and an argument for why they need alimony. Depending on the evidence presented and the county in which the divorce was filed, this can make it easier or harder for a spouse to gain alimony.

There Does Not Have to be an Unanticipated Change of Circumstances to Request the Modification of a Parenting Plan

In the past, there needed to be an unanticipated substantial and material change in circumstances for a parent to be able to request a change to the parenting plan. This could be the loss or gain of employment of one of the parents, a change in one of their living situations, an injury or illness a parent has developed, or something of equal significance.

Now, there does not need to be any unanticipated change, the change just needs to be substantial and material. Also, a parent’s relocation closer to their child allows them to modify the existing parenting plan. Whether or not their request for a change will be granted remains unaffected by this new law.

No More Alimony For Life

As it stands, permanent alimony has been eliminated This law has also placed guidelines on when the payor can seek to end alimony payments. 

Two situations where the ex-spouse paying alimony can seek to change or even end it include when they plan to retire and when the receiving spouse can be proven to be in a supportive relationship. Before, alimony automatically ended if the receiving spouse remarried. Now, if the receiving spouse is proven to be in a long-term supportive relationship, one that provides close to or equal financial support to a marriage, then their alimony will cease.

Contact the Family Lawyers at C. Alvarez Law For More Information

If you believe that these new laws will affect your previous divorce, consider contacting our Florida family law firm for more information. During a consultation, we can break down what risks you now face, what opportunities you may have, and if there are any immediate effects that these laws will have on your divorce.

Additionally, if you’re about to file for divorce and aren’t sure how to proceed through these new laws, our family law office can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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C. Alvarez Law

C. Alvarez Law is a Central Florida-based law firm that helps families find resolutions to their most complex family law issues. We are dedicated to providing the support and advice you need for a positive outcome and a better life. Before you can move on with your life, you need closure. Our firm is diverse, energetic, and passionate about delivering this for the clients who have placed their trust in us. Let’s work together today to find a better tomorrow.

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