Florida Senate - 2016 CS for CS for SB 668
By the Committees on Appropriations; and Judiciary; and Senator
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to family law; amending s. 61.071,
3 F.S.; requiring a court to consider certain alimony
4 factors and make specific written findings of fact
5 under certain circumstances; prohibiting a court from
6 using certain presumptive alimony guidelines in
7 calculating alimony pendente lite; amending s. 61.08,
8 F.S.; defining terms; requiring a court to make
9 specified initial written findings in a dissolution of
10 marriage proceeding where a party has requested
11 alimony; requiring a court to make specified findings
12 before ruling on a request for alimony; providing for
13 determinations of presumptive alimony amount range and
14 duration range; providing presumptions concerning
15 alimony awards depending on the duration of marriages;
16 providing for imputation of income in certain
17 circumstances; specifying exceptions to the guidelines
18 for the amount and duration of alimony awards;
19 providing for awards of nominal alimony in certain
20 circumstances; providing for taxability and
21 deductibility of alimony awards; prohibiting a
22 combined award of alimony and child support from
23 constituting more than a specified percentage of a
24 payor’s net income; authorizing the court to order a
25 party to protect an alimony award by specified means;
26 providing for termination of an award; authorizing a
27 court to modify or terminate the amount of an initial
28 alimony award; prohibiting a court from modifying the
29 duration of an alimony award; providing for payment of
30 awards; amending s. 61.13, F.S.; specifying a premise
31 that a minor child should spend approximately equal
32 amounts of time with each parent; revising a finite
33 list of factors that a court must evaluate when
34 establishing or modifying parental responsibility or a
35 parenting plan; requiring a court order to be
36 supported by written findings of fact under certain
37 circumstances; amending s. 61.14, F.S.; prohibiting a
38 court from changing the duration of alimony;
39 authorizing a party to pursue an immediate
40 modification of alimony in certain circumstances;
41 revising factors to be considered in determining
42 whether an existing award of alimony should be reduced
43 or terminated because of an alleged supportive
44 relationship; providing for burden of proof for claims
45 concerning the existence of supportive relationships;
46 providing for the effective date of a reduction or
47 termination of an alimony award; providing that the
48 remarriage of an alimony obligor is not a substantial
49 change in circumstance; providing that the financial
50 information of a spouse of a party paying or receiving
51 alimony is inadmissible and undiscoverable; providing
52 an exception; providing for modification or
53 termination of an award based on a party’s retirement;
54 providing a presumption upon a finding of a
55 substantial change in circumstance; specifying factors
56 to be considered in determining whether to modify or
57 terminate an award based on a substantial change in
58 circumstance; providing for a temporary suspension of
59 an obligor’s payment of alimony while his or her
60 petition for modification or termination is pending;
61 providing for an award of attorney fees and costs for
62 unreasonably pursuing or defending a modification of
63 an award; providing for an effective date of a
64 modification or termination of an award; amending s.
65 61.30, F.S.; requiring that a child support award be
66 adjusted to reduce the combined alimony and child
67 support award under certain circumstances; creating s.
68 61.192, F.S.; providing for motions to advance the
69 trial of certain actions if a specified period has
70 passed since the initial service on the respondent;
71 amending ss. 61.1827 and 409.2579, F.S.; conforming
72 cross-references; providing applicability; providing
73 an effective date.
75 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
77 Section 1. Section 61.071, Florida Statutes, is amended to
79 61.071 Alimony pendente lite; suit money.—In every
80 proceeding for dissolution of the marriage, a party may claim
81 alimony and suit money in the petition or by motion, and if the
82 petition is well founded, the court shall allow a reasonable sum
83 therefor. If a party in any proceeding for dissolution of
84 marriage claims alimony or suit money in his or her answer or by
85 motion, and the answer or motion is well founded, the court
86 shall allow a reasonable sum therefor. After determining there
87 is a need for alimony and that there is an ability to pay
88 alimony, the court shall consider the alimony factors in s.
89 61.08(4)(b)1.-14. and make specific written findings of fact
90 regarding the relevant factors that justify an award of alimony
91 under this section. The court may not use the presumptive
92 alimony guidelines in s. 61.08 to calculate alimony under this
94 Section 2. Section 61.08, Florida Statutes, is amended to
96 (Substantial rewording of section. See
97 s. 61.08, F.S., for present text.)
98 61.08 Alimony.—
99 (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, unless the
100 context otherwise requires, the term:
101 (a)1. “Gross income” means recurring income from any source
102 and includes, but is not limited to:
103 a. Income from salaries.
104 b. Wages, including tips declared by the individual for
105 purposes of reporting to the Internal Revenue Service or tips
106 imputed to bring the employee’s gross earnings to the minimum
107 wage for the number of hours worked, whichever is greater.
108 c. Commissions.
109 d. Payments received as an independent contractor for labor
110 or services, which payments must be considered income from self
112 e. Bonuses.
113 f. Dividends.
114 g. Severance pay.
115 h. Pension payments and retirement benefits actually
117 i. Royalties.
118 j. Rental income, which is gross receipts minus ordinary
119 and necessary expenses required to produce the income.
120 k. Interest.
121 l. Trust income and distributions which are regularly
122 received, relied upon, or readily available to the beneficiary.
123 m. Annuity payments.
124 n. Capital gains.
125 o. Any money drawn by a self-employed individual for
126 personal use that is deducted as a business expense, which
127 moneys must be considered income from self-employment.
128 p. Social security benefits, including social security
129 benefits actually received by a party as a result of the
130 disability of that party.
131 q. Workers’ compensation benefits.
132 r. Unemployment insurance benefits.
133 s. Disability insurance benefits.
134 t. Funds payable from any health, accident, disability, or
135 casualty insurance to the extent that such insurance replaces
136 wages or provides income in lieu of wages.
137 u. Continuing monetary gifts.
138 v. Income from general partnerships, limited partnerships,
139 closely held corporations, or limited liability companies;
140 except that if a party is a passive investor, has a minority
141 interest in the company, and does not have any managerial duties
142 or input, the income to be recognized may be limited to actual
143 cash distributions received.
144 w. Expense reimbursements or in-kind payments or benefits
145 received by a party in the course of employment, self
146 employment, or operation of a business which reduces personal
147 living expenses.
148 x. Overtime pay.
149 y. Income from royalties, trusts, or estates.
150 z. Spousal support received from a previous marriage.
151 aa. Gains derived from dealings in property, unless the
152 gain is nonrecurring.
153 2. “Gross income” does not include:
154 a. Child support payments received.
155 b. Benefits received from public assistance programs.
156 c. Social security benefits received by a parent on behalf
157 of a minor child as a result of the death or disability of a
158 parent or stepparent.
159 d. Earnings or gains on retirement accounts, including
160 individual retirement accounts; except that such earnings or
161 gains shall be included as income if a party takes a
162 distribution from the account. If a party is able to take a
163 distribution from the account without being subject to a federal
164 tax penalty for early distribution and the party chooses not to
165 take such a distribution, the court may consider the
166 distribution that could have been taken in determining the
167 party’s gross income.
168 3.a. For income from self-employment, rent, royalties,
169 proprietorship of a business, or joint ownership of a
170 partnership or closely held corporation, the term “gross income”
171 equals gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses, as
172 defined in sub-subparagraph b., which are required to produce
173 such income.
174 b. “Ordinary and necessary expenses,” as used in sub
175 subparagraph a., does not include amounts allowable by the
176 Internal Revenue Service for the accelerated component of
177 depreciation expenses or investment tax credits or any other
178 business expenses determined by the court to be inappropriate
179 for determining gross income for purposes of calculating
181 (b) “Potential income” means income which could be earned
182 by a party using his or her best efforts and includes potential
183 income from employment and potential income from the investment
184 of assets or use of property. Potential income from employment
185 is the income which a party could reasonably expect to earn by
186 working at a locally available, full-time job commensurate with
187 his or her education, training, and experience. Potential income
188 from the investment of assets or use of property is the income
189 which a party could reasonably expect to earn from the
190 investment of his or her assets or the use of his or her
191 property in a financially prudent manner.
192 (c)1. “Underemployed” means a party is not working full
193 time in a position which is appropriate, based upon his or her
194 educational training and experience, and available in the
195 geographical area of his or her residence.
196 2. A party is not considered “underemployed” if he or she
197 is enrolled in an educational program that can be reasonably
198 expected to result in a degree or certification within a
199 reasonable period, so long as the educational program is:
200 a. Expected to result in higher income within the
201 foreseeable future.
202 b. A good faith educational choice based upon the previous
203 education, training, skills, and experience of the party and the
204 availability of immediate employment based upon the educational
205 program being pursued.
206 (d) “Years of marriage” means the number of whole years,
207 beginning from the date of the parties’ marriage until the date
208 of the filing of the action for dissolution of marriage.
209 (2) INITIAL FINDINGS.—When a party has requested alimony in
210 a dissolution of marriage proceeding, before granting or denying
211 an award of alimony, the court shall make initial written
212 findings as to:
213 (a) The amount of each party’s monthly gross income,
214 including, but not limited to, the actual or potential income,
215 and also including actual or potential income from nonmarital or
216 marital property distributed to each party.
217 (b) The years of marriage as determined from the date of
218 marriage through the date of the filing of the action for
219 dissolution of marriage.
220 (3) ALIMONY GUIDELINES.—After making the initial findings
221 described in subsection (2), the court shall calculate the
222 presumptive alimony amount range and the presumptive alimony
223 duration range. The court shall make written findings as to the
224 presumptive alimony amount range and presumptive alimony
225 duration range.
226 (a) Presumptive alimony amount range.—The low end of the
227 presumptive alimony amount range shall be calculated by using
228 the following formula:
230 (0.015 x the years of marriage) x the difference between the
231 monthly gross incomes of the parties
233 The high end of the presumptive alimony amount range shall be
234 calculated by using the following formula:
236 (0.020 x the years of marriage) x the difference between the
237 monthly gross incomes of the parties
239 For purposes of calculating the presumptive alimony amount
240 range, 20 years of marriage shall be used in calculating the low
241 end and high end for marriages of 20 years or more. In
242 calculating the difference between the parties’ monthly gross
243 income, the income of the party seeking alimony shall be
244 subtracted from the income of the other party. If the
245 application of the formulas to establish a guideline range
246 results in a negative number, the presumptive alimony amount
247 shall be $0.
248 (b) Presumptive alimony duration range.—The low end of the
249 presumptive alimony duration range shall be calculated by using
250 the following formula:
252 0.25 x the years of marriage
254 The high end of the presumptive alimony duration range shall be
255 calculated by using the following formula:
257 0.75 x the years of marriage
259 (c) Exceptions to alimony guidelines.—
260 1. If a court establishes the duration of the alimony award
261 at 50 percent or less of the length of the marriage, the court
262 shall use the actual years of the marriage, up to a maximum of
263 25 years, to calculate the high end of the presumptive alimony
264 amount range.
265 2. A court may award alimony in an amount that equalizes
266 the income of the parties until the obligor retires upon
267 reaching the age for eligibility for full retirement benefits
268 under s. 216 of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. s. 416, or
269 upon reaching the customary retirement age for his or her
270 occupation if:
271 a. The duration of the marriage was at least 20 years;
272 b. Pursuant to the mutual agreement or consent of the
273 parties to the marriage, one spouse substantially refrained from
274 economic, educational, or employment opportunities primarily for
275 the purpose of contributing to the marriage through homemaking
276 or child care activities; and
277 c. The spouse seeking alimony even with additional
278 education faces dramatically reduced opportunities to advance in
279 a career.
281 This subparagraph should not be applied in a manner that
282 discourages a spouse from seeking additional education or
283 employment opportunities.
284 (4) ALIMONY AWARD.—
285 (a) Marriages of 2 years or less.—For marriages of 2 years
286 or less, there is a rebuttable presumption that no alimony shall
287 be awarded. The court may award alimony for a marriage with a
288 duration of 2 years or less only if the court makes written
289 findings that there is a clear and convincing need for alimony,
290 there is an ability to pay alimony, and that the failure to
291 award alimony would be inequitable. The court shall then
292 establish the alimony award in accordance with paragraph (b).
293 (b) Marriages of more than 2 years.—Absent an agreement of
294 the parties, alimony shall presumptively be awarded in an amount
295 within the alimony amount range calculated in paragraph (3)(a).
296 Absent an agreement of the parties, alimony shall presumptively
297 be awarded for a duration within the alimony duration range
298 calculated in paragraph (3)(b). In determining the amount and
299 duration of the alimony award, the court shall consider all of
300 the following factors upon which evidence was presented:
301 1. The financial resources of the recipient spouse,
302 including the actual or potential income from nonmarital or
303 marital property or any other source and the ability of the
304 recipient spouse to meet his or her reasonable needs
306 2. The financial resources of the payor spouse, including
307 the actual or potential income from nonmarital or marital
308 property or any other source and the ability of the payor spouse
309 to meet his or her reasonable needs while paying alimony.
310 3. The standard of living of the parties during the
311 marriage with consideration that there will be two households to
312 maintain after the dissolution of the marriage and that neither
313 party may be able to maintain the same standard of living after
314 the dissolution of the marriage.
315 4. The equitable distribution of marital property,
316 including whether an unequal distribution of marital property
317 was made to reduce or alleviate the need for alimony.
318 5. Both parties’ income, employment, and employability,
319 obtainable through reasonable diligence and additional training
320 or education, if necessary, and any necessary reduction in
321 employment due to the needs of an unemancipated child of the
322 marriage or the circumstances of the parties.
323 6. Whether a party could become better able to support
324 himself or herself and reduce the need for ongoing alimony by
325 pursuing additional educational or vocational training along
326 with all of the details of such educational or vocational plan,
327 including, but not limited to, the length of time required and
328 the anticipated costs of such educational or vocational
330 7. Whether one party has historically earned higher or
331 lower income than the income reflected at the time of trial and
332 the duration and consistency of income from overtime or
333 secondary employment.
334 8. Whether either party has foregone or postponed economic,
335 educational, or employment opportunities during the course of
336 the marriage.
337 9. Whether either party has caused the unreasonable
338 depletion or dissipation of marital assets.
339 10. The amount of temporary alimony and the number of
340 months that temporary alimony was paid to the recipient spouse.
341 11. The age, health, and physical and mental condition of
342 the parties, including consideration of significant health care
343 needs or uninsured or unreimbursed health care expenses.
344 12. Significant economic or noneconomic contributions to
345 the marriage or to the economic, educational, or occupational
346 advancement of a party, including, but not limited to, services
347 rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career
348 building of the other party, payment by one spouse of the other
349 spouse’s separate debts, or enhancement of the other spouse’s
350 personal or real property.
351 13. The tax consequence of the alimony award.
352 14. Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice
353 between the parties.
354 (c) Deviation from guidelines.—The court may establish an
355 award of alimony that is outside the presumptive alimony amount
356 or alimony duration ranges only if the court considers all of
357 the factors in paragraph (b) and makes specific written findings
358 concerning the relevant factors justifying that the application
359 of the presumptive alimony amount or alimony duration ranges, as
360 applicable, is inappropriate or inequitable.
361 (d) Order establishing alimony award.—After consideration
362 of the presumptive alimony amount and duration ranges in
363 accordance with paragraphs (3)(a) and (b) and the factors upon
364 which evidence was presented in accordance with paragraph (b),
365 the court may establish an alimony award. An order establishing
366 an alimony award must clearly set forth both the amount and the
367 duration of the award. The court shall also make a written
368 finding that the payor has the financial ability to pay the
370 (5) IMPUTATION OF INCOME.—If a party is voluntarily
371 unemployed or underemployed, alimony shall be calculated based
372 on a determination of potential income unless the court makes
373 specific written findings regarding the circumstances that make
374 it inequitable to impute income.
375 (6) NOMINAL ALIMONY.—Notwithstanding subsections (1), (3),
376 and (4), the court may make an award of nominal alimony in the
377 amount of $1 per year if, at the time of trial, a party who has
378 traditionally provided the primary source of financial support
379 to the family temporarily lacks the ability to pay support but
380 is reasonably anticipated to have the ability to pay support in
381 the future. The court may also award nominal alimony for an
382 alimony recipient who is presently able to work but for whom a
383 medical condition with a reasonable degree of medical certainty
384 may inhibit or prevent his or her ability to work during the
385 duration of the alimony period. The duration of the nominal
386 alimony shall be established within the presumptive durational
387 range based upon the length of the marriage subject to the
388 alimony factors in paragraph (4)(b). Before the expiration of
389 the durational period, nominal alimony may be modified in
390 accordance with s. 61.14 as to amount to a full alimony award
391 using the alimony guidelines and factors in accordance with s.
393 (7) TAXABILITY AND DEDUCTIBILITY OF ALIMONY.—
394 (a) Unless otherwise stated in the judgment or order for
395 alimony or in an agreement incorporated thereby, alimony shall
396 be deductible from income by the payor under s. 215 of the
397 Internal Revenue Code and includable in the income of the payee
398 under s. 71 of the Internal Revenue Code.
399 (b) When making a judgment or order for alimony, the court
400 may, in its discretion after weighing the equities and tax
401 efficiencies, order alimony be nondeductible from income by the
402 payor and nonincludable in the income of the payee.
403 (c) The parties may, in a marital settlement agreement,
404 separation agreement, or related agreement, specifically agree
405 in writing that alimony be nondeductible from income by the
406 payor and nonincludable in the income of the payee.
407 (8) MAXIMUM COMBINED AWARD.—In no event shall a combined
408 award of alimony and child support constitute more than 55
409 percent of the payor’s net income, calculated without any
410 consideration of alimony or child support obligations.
411 (9) SECURITY OF AWARD.—To the extent necessary to protect
412 an award of alimony, the court may order any party who is
413 ordered to pay alimony to purchase or maintain a decreasing term
414 life insurance policy or a bond, or to otherwise secure such
415 alimony award with any other assets that may be suitable for
416 that purpose, in an amount adequate to secure the alimony award.
417 Any such security may be awarded only upon a showing of special
418 circumstances. If the court finds special circumstances and
419 awards such security, the court must make specific evidentiary
420 findings regarding the availability, cost, and financial impact
421 on the obligated party. Any security may be modifiable in the
422 event the underlying alimony award is modified and shall be
423 reduced in an amount commensurate with any reduction in the
424 alimony award.
425 (10) TERMINATION OF AWARD.—An alimony award shall terminate
426 upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the obligee.
427 (11) MODIFICATION OF AWARD.—A court may subsequently modify
428 or terminate the amount of an award of alimony initially
429 established under this section in accordance with s. 61.14.
430 However, a court may not modify the duration of an award of
431 alimony initially established under this section.
432 (12) PAYMENT OF AWARD.—
433 (a) With respect to an order requiring the payment of
434 alimony entered on or after January 1, 1985, unless paragraph
435 (c) or paragraph (d) applies, the court shall direct in the
436 order that the payments of alimony be made through the
437 appropriate depository as provided in s. 61.181.
438 (b) With respect to an order requiring the payment of
439 alimony entered before January 1, 1985, upon the subsequent
440 appearance, on or after that date, of one or both parties before
441 the court having jurisdiction for the purpose of modifying or
442 enforcing the order or in any other proceeding related to the
443 order, or upon the application of either party, unless paragraph
444 (c) or paragraph (d) applies, the court shall modify the terms
445 of the order as necessary to direct that payments of alimony be
446 made through the appropriate depository as provided in s.
448 (c) If there is no minor child, alimony payments do not
449 need to be directed through the depository.
450 (d)1. If there is a minor child of the parties and both
451 parties so request, the court may order that alimony payments do
452 not need to be directed through the depository. In this case,
453 the order of support shall provide, or be deemed to provide,
454 that either party may subsequently apply to the depository to
455 require that payments be made through the depository. The court
456 shall provide a copy of the order to the depository.
457 2. If subparagraph 1. applies, either party may
458 subsequently file with the clerk of the court a verified motion
459 alleging a default or arrearages in payment stating that the
460 party wishes to initiate participation in the depository
461 program. The moving party shall copy the other party with the
462 motion. No later than 15 days after filing the motion, the court
463 shall conduct an evidentiary hearing establishing the default
464 and arrearages, if any, and issue an order directing the clerk
465 of the circuit court to establish, or amend an existing, family
466 law case history account, and further advising the parties that
467 future payments must thereafter be directed through the
469 3. In IV-D cases, the Title IV-D agency shall have the same
470 rights as the obligee in requesting that payments be made
471 through the depository.
472 Section 3. Paragraph (c) of subsection (2) and subsection
473 (3) of section 61.13, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
474 61.13 Support of children; parenting and time-sharing;
475 powers of court.—
477 (c) The court shall determine all matters relating to
478 parenting and time-sharing of each minor child of the parties in
479 accordance with the best interests of the child and in
480 accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and
481 Enforcement Act, except that modification of a parenting plan
482 and time-sharing schedule requires a showing of a substantial,
483 material, and unanticipated change of circumstances.
484 1. In establishing a parenting plan and time-sharing
485 schedule, the court shall begin with the premise that a minor
486 child should spend approximately equal amounts of time with each
487 parent. Using this premise as a starting point, the court shall
488 formulate a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule taking into
489 account the best interest of the child after considering all of
490 the relevant factors in subsection (3). It is the public policy
491 of this state
that each minor child has frequent and continuing
492 contact with both parents after the parents separate or the
493 marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to
494 share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of
495 childrearing. There is no presumption for or against the father
496 or mother of the child or for or against any specific time
497 sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan
498 of the child.
499 2. The court shall order that the parental responsibility
500 for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court
501 finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental
502 to the child. Evidence that a parent has been convicted of a
503 misdemeanor of the first degree or higher involving domestic
504 violence, as defined in s. 741.28 and chapter 775, or meets the
505 criteria of s. 39.806(1)(d), creates a rebuttable presumption of
506 detriment to the child. If the presumption is not rebutted after
507 the convicted parent is advised by the court that the
508 presumption exists, shared parental responsibility, including
509 time-sharing with the child, and decisions made regarding the
510 child, may not be granted to the convicted parent. However, the
511 convicted parent is not relieved of any obligation to provide
512 financial support. If the court determines that shared parental
513 responsibility would be detrimental to the child, it may order
514 sole parental responsibility and make such arrangements for
515 time-sharing as specified in the parenting plan as will best
516 protect the child or abused spouse from further harm. Whether or
517 not there is a conviction of any offense of domestic violence or
518 child abuse or the existence of an injunction for protection
519 against domestic violence, the court shall consider evidence of
520 domestic violence or child abuse as evidence of detriment to the
522 a. In ordering shared parental responsibility, the court
523 may consider the expressed desires of the parents and may grant
524 to one party the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects
525 of the child’s welfare or may divide those responsibilities
526 between the parties based on the best interests of the child.
527 Areas of responsibility may include education, health care, and
528 any other responsibilities that the court finds unique to a
529 particular family.
530 b. The court shall order sole parental responsibility for a
531 minor child to one parent, with or without time-sharing with the
532 other parent if it is in the best interests of the minor child.
533 3. Access to records and information pertaining to a minor
534 child, including, but not limited to, medical, dental, and
535 school records, may not be denied to either parent. Full rights
536 under this subparagraph apply to either parent unless a court
537 order specifically revokes these rights, including any
538 restrictions on these rights as provided in a domestic violence
539 injunction. A parent having rights under this subparagraph has
540 the same rights upon request as to form, substance, and manner
541 of access as are available to the other parent of a child,
542 including, without limitation, the right to in-person
543 communication with medical, dental, and education providers.
544 (3) For purposes of establishing or modifying parental
545 responsibility and creating, developing, approving, or modifying
546 a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, which
547 governs each parent’s relationship with his or her minor child
548 and the relationship between each parent with regard to his or
549 her minor child, the best interest of the child shall be the
550 primary consideration. A determination of parental
551 responsibility, a parenting plan, or a time-sharing schedule may
552 not be modified without a showing of a substantial, material,
553 and unanticipated change in circumstances and a determination
554 that the modification is in the best interests of the child.
555 Determination of the best interests of the child shall be made
556 by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and
557 interests of the particular minor child and the circumstances of
558 that family, including, but not limited to:
559 (a) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each
560 parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing
561 parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule,
562 and to be reasonable when changes are required.
563 (b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities
564 after the litigation, including the extent to which parental
565 responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
566 (c) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each
567 parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the
568 child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
569 (d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable,
570 satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining
572 (e) The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with
573 special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and
574 the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the
575 parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or
576 against relocation of either parent with a child.
577 (f) The moral fitness of the parents.
578 (g) The mental and physical health of the parents.
579 (h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
580 (i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court
581 deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding,
582 and experience to express a preference.
583 (j) The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, or and
584 disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances
585 of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s
586 friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and
587 favorite things.
588 (k) The demonstrated capacity or and disposition of each
589 parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as
590 discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and
592 (l) The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate
593 with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities
594 regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to
595 adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the
597 (m) Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child
598 abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of
599 whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has
600 been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending
601 actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child
602 abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, the court must
603 specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was
604 considered when evaluating the best interests of the child.
605 (n) Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided
606 false information to the court regarding any prior or pending
607 action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child
608 abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
609 (o) The demonstrated capacity or disposition of each parent
610 to perform or ensure the performance of particular parenting
611 tasks customarily performed by the other each parent and the
612 division of parental responsibilities before the institution of
613 litigation and during the pending litigation, including the
614 extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by
615 third parties.
616 (p) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each
617 parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and
618 extracurricular activities.
619 (q) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each
620 parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free
621 from substance abuse.
622 (r) The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect
623 the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not
624 discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents
625 or electronic media related to the litigation with the child,
626 and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent
627 to the child.
628 (s) The developmental stages and needs of the child and the
629 demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the
630 child’s developmental needs.
631 (t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination
632 of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing
635 The court shall make detailed written findings of fact which
636 support and justify any parenting plan or time-sharing schedule
637 that is not based on an agreement between the parents.
638 Section 4. Subsection (1) of section 61.14, Florida
639 Statutes, is amended to read:
640 61.14 Enforcement and modification of support, maintenance,
641 or alimony agreements or orders.—
642 (1)(a) When the parties enter into an agreement for
643 payments for, or instead of, support, maintenance, or alimony,
644 whether in connection with a proceeding for dissolution or
645 separate maintenance or with any voluntary property settlement,
646 or when a party is required by court order to make any payments,
647 and the circumstances or the financial ability of either party
648 changes or the child who is a beneficiary of an agreement or
649 court order as described herein reaches majority after the
650 execution of the agreement or the rendition of the order, either
651 party may apply to the circuit court of the circuit in which the
652 parties, or either of them, resided at the date of the execution
653 of the agreement or reside at the date of the application, or in
654 which the agreement was executed or in which the order was
655 rendered, for an order decreasing or increasing the amount of
656 support, maintenance, or alimony, and the court has jurisdiction
657 to make orders as equity requires, with due regard to the
658 changed circumstances or the financial ability of the parties or
659 the child, decreasing, increasing, or confirming the amount of
660 separate support, maintenance, or alimony provided for in the
661 agreement or order. However, a court may not decrease or
662 increase the duration of alimony provided for in the agreement
663 or order. A party is entitled to pursue an immediate
664 modification of alimony if the actual income earned by the other
665 party exceeds by at least 10 percent the amount imputed to that
666 party at the time the existing alimony award was determined and
667 such circumstance shall constitute a substantial change in
668 circumstances sufficient to support a modification of alimony.
669 However, an increase in an alimony obligor’s income alone does
670 not constitute a basis for a modification to increase alimony
671 unless at the time the alimony award was established it was
672 determined that the obligor was underemployed or unemployed and
673 the court did not impute income to that party at his or her
674 maximum potential income. If an alimony obligor becomes
675 involuntarily underemployed or unemployed for a period of 6
676 months following the entry of the last order requiring the
677 payment of alimony, the obligor is entitled to pursue an
678 immediate modification of his or her existing alimony
679 obligations and such circumstance shall constitute a substantial
680 change in circumstance sufficient to support a modification of
681 alimony. A finding that medical insurance is reasonably
682 available or the child support guidelines schedule in s. 61.30
683 may constitute changed circumstances. Except as otherwise
684 provided in s. 61.30(11)(c), the court may modify an order of
685 support, maintenance, or alimony by increasing or decreasing the
686 support, maintenance, or alimony retroactively to the date of
687 the filing of the action or supplemental action for modification
688 as equity requires, giving due regard to the changed
689 circumstances or the financial ability of the parties or the
691 (b)1. The court may reduce or terminate an award of alimony
692 upon specific written findings by the court that since the
693 granting of a divorce and the award of alimony a supportive
694 relationship exists or has existed within the previous year
695 before the date of the filing of the petition for modification
696 or termination between the obligee and another a person with
697 whom the obligee resides. On the issue of whether alimony should
698 be reduced or terminated under this paragraph, the burden is on
699 the obligor to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a
700 supportive relationship exists.
701 2. In determining whether an existing award of alimony
702 should be reduced or terminated because of an alleged supportive
703 relationship between an obligee and a person who is not related
704 by consanguinity or affinity and with whom the obligee resides,
705 the court shall elicit the nature and extent of the relationship
706 in question. The court shall give consideration, without
707 limitation, to circumstances, including, but not limited to, the
708 following, in determining the relationship of an obligee to
709 another person:
710 a. The extent to which the obligee and the other person
711 have held themselves out as a married couple by engaging in
712 conduct such as using the same last name, using a common mailing
713 address, referring to each other in terms such as “my husband”
714 or “my wife,” “my spouse” or otherwise conducting themselves in
715 a manner that evidences a permanent supportive relationship.
716 b. The period of time that the obligee has resided with the
717 other person in a permanent place of abode.
718 c. The extent to which the obligee and the other person
719 have pooled their assets or income or otherwise exhibited
720 financial interdependence.
721 d. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has
722 supported the other, in whole or in part.
723 e. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has
724 performed valuable services for the other.
725 f. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has
726 performed valuable services for the other’s company or employer.
727 g. Whether the obligee and the other person have worked
728 together to create or enhance anything of value.
729 h. Whether the obligee and the other person have jointly
730 contributed to the purchase of any real or personal property.
731 i. Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the
732 other person have an express agreement regarding property
733 sharing or support.
734 j. Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the
735 other person have an implied agreement regarding property
736 sharing or support.
737 k. Whether the obligee and the other person have provided
738 support to the children of one another, regardless of any legal
739 duty to do so.
740 l. Whether the obligor’s failure, in whole or in part, to
741 comply with all court-ordered financial obligations to the
742 obligee constituted a significant factor in the establishment of
743 the supportive relationship.
744 3. In any proceeding to modify an alimony award based upon
745 a supportive relationship, the obligor has the burden of proof
746 to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a
747 supportive relationship exists or has existed within the
748 previous year before the date of the filing of the petition for
749 modification or termination. The obligor is not required to
750 prove cohabitation of the obligee and the third party.
751 4. Notwithstanding paragraph (f), if a reduction or
752 termination is granted under this paragraph, the reduction or
753 termination is retroactive to the date of filing of the petition
754 for reduction or termination.
755 5. 3. This paragraph does not abrogate the requirement that
756 every marriage in this state be solemnized under a license, does
757 not recognize a common law marriage as valid, and does not
758 recognize a de facto marriage. This paragraph recognizes only
759 that relationships do exist that provide economic support
760 equivalent to a marriage and that alimony terminable on
761 remarriage may be reduced or terminated upon the establishment
762 of equivalent equitable circumstances as described in this
763 paragraph. The existence of a conjugal relationship, though it
764 may be relevant to the nature and extent of the relationship, is
765 not necessary for the application of the provisions of this
767 (c)1. For purposes of this section, the remarriage of an
768 alimony obligor does not constitute a substantial change in
769 circumstance or a basis for a modification of alimony.
770 2. The financial information, including, but not limited
771 to, information related to assets and income, of a subsequent
772 spouse of a party paying or receiving alimony is inadmissible
773 and may not be considered as a part of any modification action
774 unless a party is claiming that his or her income has decreased
775 since the marriage. If a party makes such a claim, the financial
776 information of the subsequent spouse is discoverable and
777 admissible only to the extent necessary to establish whether the
778 party claiming that his or her income has decreased is diverting
779 income or assets to the subsequent spouse that might otherwise
780 be available for the payment of alimony. However, this
781 subparagraph may not be used to prevent the discovery of or
782 admissibility in evidence of the income or assets of a party
783 when those assets are held jointly with a subsequent spouse.
784 This subparagraph is not intended to prohibit the discovery or
785 admissibility of a joint tax return filed by a party and his or
786 her subsequent spouse in connection with a modification of
788 (d)1. An obligor may file a petition for modification or
789 termination of an alimony award based upon his or her actual
791 a. A substantial change in circumstance is deemed to exist
793 (I) The obligor has reached the age for eligibility to
794 receive full retirement benefits under s. 216 of the Social
795 Security Act, 42 U.S.C. s. 416, and has retired; or
796 (II) The obligor has reached the customary retirement age
797 for his or her occupation and has retired from that occupation.
798 An obligor may file an action within 1 year of his or her
799 anticipated retirement date and the court shall determine the
800 customary retirement date for the obligor’s profession. However,
801 a determination of the customary retirement age is not an
802 adjudication of a petition for a modification of an alimony
804 b. If an obligor voluntarily retires before reaching any of
805 the ages described in sub-subparagraph a., the court shall
806 determine whether the obligor’s retirement is reasonable upon
807 consideration of the obligor’s age, health, and motivation for
808 retirement and the financial impact on the obligee. A finding of
809 reasonableness by the court shall constitute a substantial
810 change in circumstance.
811 2. Upon a finding of a substantial change in circumstance,
812 there is a rebuttable presumption that an obligor’s existing
813 alimony obligation shall be modified or terminated. The court
814 shall modify or terminate the alimony obligation, or make a
815 determination regarding whether the rebuttable presumption has
816 been overcome, based upon the following factors applied to the
817 current circumstances of the obligor and obligee:
818 a. The age of the parties.
819 b. The health of the parties.
820 c. The assets and liabilities of the parties.
821 d. The earned or imputed income of the parties as provided
822 in s. 61.08(1)(a) and (5).
823 e. The ability of the parties to maintain part-time or
824 full-time employment.
825 f. Any other factor deemed relevant by the court.
826 3. The court may temporarily reduce or suspend the
827 obligor’s payment of alimony while his or her petition for
828 modification or termination under this paragraph is pending.
829 (e) A party who unreasonably pursues or defends an action
830 for modification of alimony shall be required to pay the
831 reasonable attorney fees and costs of the prevailing party.
832 Further, a party obligated to pay prevailing party attorney fees
833 and costs in connection with unreasonably pursuing or defending
834 an action for modification is not entitled to an award of
835 attorney fees and costs in accordance with s. 61.16.
836 (f) There is a rebuttable presumption that a modification
837 or termination of an alimony award is retroactive to the date of
838 the filing of the petition, unless the obligee demonstrates that
839 the result is inequitable.
840 (g) (c) For each support order reviewed by the department as
841 required by s. 409.2564(11), if the amount of the child support
842 award under the order differs by at least 10 percent but not
843 less than $25 from the amount that would be awarded under s.
844 61.30, the department shall seek to have the order modified and
845 any modification shall be made without a requirement for proof
846 or showing of a change in circumstances.
847 (h) (d) The department may shall have authority to adopt
848 rules to implement this section.
849 Section 5. Paragraph (d) is added to subsection (11) of
850 section 61.30, Florida Statutes, to read:
851 61.30 Child support guidelines; retroactive child support.—
853 (d) Whenever a combined alimony and child support award
854 constitutes more than 55 percent of the payor’s net income,
855 calculated without any consideration of alimony or child support
856 obligations, the court shall adjust the award of child support
857 to ensure that the 55 percent cap is not exceeded.
858 Section 6. Section 61.192, Florida Statutes, is created to
860 61.192 Advancing trial.—In an action brought pursuant to
861 this chapter, if more than 2 years have passed since the initial
862 petition was served on the respondent, either party may move the
863 court to advance the trial of their action on the docket. This
864 motion may be made at any time after 2 years have passed since
865 the petition was served, and once made the court must give the
866 case priority on the court’s calendar.
867 Section 7. Subsection (1) of section 61.1827, Florida
868 Statutes, is amended to read:
869 61.1827 Identifying information concerning applicants for
870 and recipients of child support services.—
871 (1) Any information that reveals the identity of applicants
872 for or recipients of child support services, including the name,
873 address, and telephone number of such persons, held by a non
874 Title IV-D county child support enforcement agency is
875 confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a) of Art. I
876 of the State Constitution. The use or disclosure of such
877 information by the non-Title IV-D county child support
878 enforcement agency is limited to the purposes directly connected
880 (a) Any investigation, prosecution, or criminal or civil
881 proceeding connected with the administration of any non-Title
882 IV-D county child support enforcement program;
883 (b) Mandatory disclosure of identifying and location
884 information as provided in s. 61.13(8) s. 61.13(7) by the non
885 Title IV-D county child support enforcement agency when
886 providing non-Title IV-D services;
887 (c) Mandatory disclosure of information as required by ss.
888 409.2577, 61.181, 61.1825, and 61.1826 and Title IV-D of the
889 Social Security Act; or
890 (d) Disclosure to an authorized person, as defined in 45
891 C.F.R. s. 303.15, for purposes of enforcing any state or federal
892 law with respect to the unlawful taking or restraint of a child
893 or making or enforcing a parenting plan. As used in this
894 paragraph, the term “authorized person” includes a parent with
895 whom the child does not currently reside, unless a court has
896 entered an order under s. 741.30, s. 741.31, or s. 784.046.
897 Section 8. Subsection (1) of section 409.2579, Florida
898 Statutes, is amended to read:
899 409.2579 Safeguarding Title IV-D case file information.—
900 (1) Information concerning applicants for or recipients of
901 Title IV-D child support services is confidential and exempt
902 from the provisions of s. 119.07(1). The use or disclosure of
903 such information by the IV-D program is limited to purposes
904 directly connected with:
905 (a) The administration of the plan or program approved
906 under part A, part B, part D, part E, or part F of Title IV;
907 under Title II, Title X, Title XIV, Title XVI, Title XIX, or
908 Title XX; or under the supplemental security income program
909 established under Title XVI of the Social Security Act;
910 (b) Any investigation, prosecution, or criminal or civil
911 proceeding connected with the administration of any such plan or
913 (c) The administration of any other federal or federally
914 assisted program which provides service or assistance, in cash
915 or in kind, directly to individuals on the basis of need;
916 (d) Reporting to an appropriate agency or official,
917 information on known or suspected instances of physical or
918 mental injury, child abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation, or
919 negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child who is the
920 subject of a support enforcement activity under circumstances
921 which indicate that the child’s health or welfare is threatened
922 thereby; and
923 (e) Mandatory disclosure of identifying and location
924 information as provided in s. 61.13(8) s. 61.13(7) by the IV-D
925 program when providing Title IV-D services.
926 Section 9. The amendments made by this act to chapter 61,
927 Florida Statutes, apply to all initial determinations of alimony
928 and all alimony modification actions that are pending as of the
929 effective date of this act, and to all initial determinations of
930 alimony and all alimony modification actions brought on or after
931 the effective date of this act. The enacting of this act may not
932 serve as the sole basis for a party to seek a modification of an
933 alimony award existing before the effective date of this act.
934 Section 10. This act shall take effect October 1, 2016.