Florida Senate - 2015 COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
Bill No. SB 1248
Senate . House
Comm: RCS .
The Committee on Judiciary (Stargel) recommended the following:
1 Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
3 Delete everything after the enacting clause
4 and insert:
5 Section 1. Section 61.071, Florida Statutes, is amended to
7 61.071 Alimony pendente lite; suit money.—In every
8 proceeding for dissolution of the marriage, a party may claim
9 alimony and suit money in the petition or by motion, and if the
10 petition is well founded, the court shall allow a reasonable sum
11 therefor. If a party in any proceeding for dissolution of
12 marriage claims alimony or suit money in his or her answer or by
13 motion, and the answer or motion is well founded, the court
14 shall allow a reasonable sum therefor. After determining there
15 is a need for alimony and that there is an ability pay alimony,
16 the court shall consider the alimony factors in s.
17 61.08(4)(b)1.-14. and make specific written findings of fact
18 regarding the relevant factors that justify an award of alimony
19 under this section. The court may not use the presumptive
20 alimony guidelines in s. 61.08 to calculate alimony under this
22 Section 2. Section 61.08, Florida Statutes, is amended to
24 (Substantial rewording of section. See
25 s. 61.08, F.S., for present text.)
26 61.08 Alimony.—
27 (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, unless the
28 context otherwise requires, the term:
29 (a)1. “Gross income” means recurring income from any source
30 and includes, but is not limited to:
31 a. Income from salaries.
32 b. Wages, including tips declared by the individual for
33 purposes of reporting to the Internal Revenue Service or tips
34 imputed to bring the employee’s gross earnings to the minimum
35 wage for the number of hours worked, whichever is greater.
36 c. Commissions.
37 d. Payments received as an independent contractor for labor
38 or services, which payments must be considered income from self
40 e. Bonuses.
41 f. Dividends.
42 g. Severance pay.
43 h. Pension payments and retirement benefits actually
45 i. Royalties.
46 j. Rental income, which is gross receipts minus ordinary
47 and necessary expenses required to produce the income.
48 k. Interest.
49 l. Trust income and distributions which are regularly
50 received, relied upon, or readily available to the beneficiary.
51 m. Annuity payments.
52 n. Capital gains.
53 o. Any money drawn by a self-employed individual for
54 personal use that is deducted as a business expense, which
55 moneys must be considered income from self-employment.
56 p. Social security benefits, including social security
57 benefits actually received by a party as a result of the
58 disability of that party.
59 q. Workers’ compensation benefits.
60 r. Unemployment insurance benefits.
61 s. Disability insurance benefits.
62 t. Funds payable from any health, accident, disability, or
63 casualty insurance to the extent that such insurance replaces
64 wages or provides income in lieu of wages.
65 u. Continuing monetary gifts.
66 v. Income from general partnerships, limited partnerships,
67 closely held corporations, or limited liability companies;
68 except that if a party is a passive investor, has a minority
69 interest in the company, and does not have any managerial duties
70 or input, the income to be recognized may be limited to actual
71 cash distributions received.
72 w. Expense reimbursements or in-kind payments or benefits
73 received by a party in the course of employment, self
74 employment, or operation of a business which reduces personal
75 living expenses.
76 x. Overtime pay.
77 y. Income from royalties, trusts, or estates.
78 z. Spousal support received from a previous marriage.
79 aa. Gains derived from dealings in property, unless the
80 gain is nonrecurring.
81 2. “Gross income” does not include:
82 a. Child support payments received.
83 b. Benefits received from public assistance programs.
84 c. Social security benefits received by a parent on behalf
85 of a minor child as a result of the death or disability of a
86 parent or stepparent.
87 d. Earnings or gains on retirement accounts, including
88 individual retirement accounts; except that such earnings or
89 gains shall be included as income if a party takes a
90 distribution from the account. If a party is able to take a
91 distribution from the account without being subject to a federal
92 tax penalty for early distribution and the party chooses not to
93 take such a distribution, the court may consider the
94 distribution that could have been taken in determining the
95 party’s gross income.
96 3.a. For income from self-employment, rent, royalties,
97 proprietorship of a business, or joint ownership of a
98 partnership or closely held corporation, the term “gross income”
99 equals gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses, as
100 defined in sub-subparagraph b., which are required to produce
101 such income.
102 b. “Ordinary and necessary expenses,” as used in sub
103 subparagraph a., does not include amounts allowable by the
104 Internal Revenue Service for the accelerated component of
105 depreciation expenses or investment tax credits or any other
106 business expenses determined by the court to be inappropriate
107 for determining gross income for purposes of calculating
109 (b) “Potential income” means income which could be earned
110 by a party using his or her best efforts and includes potential
111 income from employment and potential income from the investment
112 of assets or use of property. Potential income from employment
113 is the income which a party could reasonably expect to earn by
114 working at a locally available, full-time job commensurate with
115 his or her education, training, and experience. Potential income
116 from the investment of assets or use of property is the income
117 which a party could reasonably expect to earn from the
118 investment of his or her assets or the use of his or her
119 property in a financially prudent manner.
120 (c)1. “Underemployed” means a party is not working full
121 time in a position which is appropriate, based upon his or her
122 educational training and experience, and available in the
123 geographical area of his or her residence.
124 2. A party is not considered “underemployed” if he or she
125 is enrolled in an educational program that can be reasonably
126 expected to result in a degree or certification within a
127 reasonable period, so long as the educational program is:
128 a. Expected to result in higher income within the
129 foreseeable future.
130 b. A good faith educational choice based upon the previous
131 education, training, skills, and experience of the party and the
132 availability of immediate employment based upon the educational
133 program being pursued.
134 (d) “Years of marriage” means the number of whole years,
135 beginning from the date of the parties’ marriage until the date
136 of the filing of the action for dissolution of marriage.
137 (2) INITIAL FINDINGS.—When a party has requested alimony in
138 a dissolution of marriage proceeding, before granting or denying
139 an award of alimony, the court shall make initial written
140 findings as to:
141 (a) The amount of each party’s monthly gross income,
142 including, but not limited to, the actual or potential income,
143 and also including actual or potential income from nonmarital or
144 marital property distributed to each party.
145 (b) The years of marriage as determined from the date of
146 marriage through the date of the filing of the action for
147 dissolution of marriage.
148 (3) ALIMONY GUIDELINES.—After making the initial findings
149 described in subsection (2), the court shall calculate the
150 presumptive alimony amount range and the presumptive alimony
151 duration range. The court shall make written findings as to the
152 presumptive alimony amount range and presumptive alimony
153 duration range.
154 (a) Presumptive alimony amount range.—The low end of the
155 presumptive alimony amount range shall be calculated by using
156 the following formula:
158 (0.015 x the years of marriage) x the difference between the
159 monthly gross incomes of the parties
161 The high end of the presumptive alimony amount range shall be
162 calculated by using the following formula:
164 (0.020 x the years of marriage) x the difference between the
165 monthly gross incomes of the parties
167 For purposes of calculating the presumptive alimony amount
168 range, 20 years of marriage shall be used in calculating the low
169 end and high end for marriages of 20 years or more. In
170 calculating the difference between the parties’ monthly gross
171 income, the income of the party seeking alimony shall be
172 subtracted from the income of the other party. If the
173 application of the formulas to establish a guideline range
174 results in a negative number, the presumptive alimony amount
175 shall be $0. If a court establishes the duration of the alimony
176 award at 50 percent or less of the length of the marriage, the
177 court shall use the actual years of the marriage, up to a
178 maximum of 25 years, to calculate the high end of the
179 presumptive alimony amount range.
180 (b) Presumptive alimony duration range.—The low end of the
181 presumptive alimony duration range shall be calculated by using
182 the following formula:
184 0.25 x the years of marriage
186 The high end of the presumptive alimony duration range shall be
187 calculated by using the following formula:
189 0.75 x the years of marriage.
191 (4) ALIMONY AWARD.—
192 (a) Marriages of 2 years or less.—For marriages of 2 years
193 or less, there is a rebuttable presumption that no alimony shall
194 be awarded. The court may award alimony for a marriage with a
195 duration of 2 years or less only if the court makes written
196 findings that there is a clear and convincing need for alimony,
197 there is an ability to pay alimony, and that the failure to
198 award alimony would be inequitable. The court shall then
199 establish the alimony award in accordance with paragraph (b).
200 (b) Marriages of more than 2 years.—Absent an agreement of
201 the parties, alimony shall presumptively be awarded in an amount
202 within the alimony amount range calculated in paragraph (3)(a).
203 Absent an agreement of the parties, alimony shall presumptively
204 be awarded for a duration within the alimony duration range
205 calculated in paragraph (3)(b). In determining the amount and
206 duration of the alimony award, the court shall consider all of
207 the following factors upon which evidence was presented:
208 1. The financial resources of the recipient spouse,
209 including the actual or potential income from nonmarital or
210 marital property or any other source and the ability of the
211 recipient spouse to meet his or her reasonable needs
213 2. The financial resources of the payor spouse, including
214 the actual or potential income from nonmarital or marital
215 property or any other source and the ability of the payor spouse
216 to meet his or her reasonable needs while paying alimony.
217 3. The standard of living of the parties during the
218 marriage with consideration that there will be two households to
219 maintain after the dissolution of the marriage and that neither
220 party may be able to maintain the same standard of living after
221 the dissolution of the marriage.
222 4. The equitable distribution of marital property,
223 including whether an unequal distribution of marital property
224 was made to reduce or alleviate the need for alimony.
225 5. Both parties’ income, employment, and employability,
226 obtainable through reasonable diligence and additional training
227 or education, if necessary, and any necessary reduction in
228 employment due to the needs of an unemancipated child of the
229 marriage or the circumstances of the parties.
230 6. Whether a party could become better able to support
231 himself or herself and reduce the need for ongoing alimony by
232 pursuing additional educational or vocational training along
233 with all of the details of such educational or vocational plan,
234 including, but not limited to, the length of time required and
235 the anticipated costs of such educational or vocational
237 7. Whether one party has historically earned higher or
238 lower income than the income reflected at the time of trial and
239 the duration and consistency of income from overtime or
240 secondary employment.
241 8. Whether either party has foregone or postponed economic,
242 educational, or employment opportunities during the course of
243 the marriage.
244 9. Whether either party has caused the unreasonable
245 depletion or dissipation of marital assets.
246 10. The amount of temporary alimony and the number of
247 months that temporary alimony was paid to the recipient spouse.
248 11. The age, health, and physical and mental condition of
249 the parties, including consideration of significant health care
250 needs or uninsured or unreimbursed health care expenses.
251 12. Significant economic or noneconomic contributions to
252 the marriage or to the economic, educational, or occupational
253 advancement of a party, including, but not limited to, services
254 rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career
255 building of the other party, payment by one spouse of the other
256 spouse’s separate debts, or enhancement of the other spouse’s
257 personal or real property.
258 13. The tax consequence of the alimony award.
259 14. Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice
260 between the parties.
261 (c) Deviation from guidelines.—The court may establish an
262 award of alimony that is outside the presumptive alimony amount
263 or alimony duration ranges only if the court considers all of
264 the factors in paragraph (b) and makes specific written findings
265 concerning the relevant factors justifying that the application
266 of the presumptive alimony amount or alimony duration ranges, as
267 applicable, is inappropriate or inequitable.
268 (d) Order establishing alimony award.—After consideration
269 of the presumptive alimony amount and duration ranges in
270 accordance with paragraphs (3)(a) and (b) and the factors upon
271 which evidence was presented in accordance with paragraph (b),
272 the court may establish an alimony award. An order establishing
273 an alimony award must clearly set forth both the amount and the
274 duration of the award. The court shall also make a written
275 finding that the payor has the financial ability to pay the
277 (5) IMPUTATION OF INCOME.—If a party is voluntarily
278 unemployed or underemployed, alimony shall be calculated based
279 on a determination of potential income unless the court makes
280 specific written findings regarding the circumstances that make
281 it inequitable to impute income.
282 (6) NOMINAL ALIMONY.—Notwithstanding subsections (1), (3),
283 and (4), the court may make an award of nominal alimony in the
284 amount of $1 per year if, at the time of trial, a party who has
285 traditionally provided the primary source of financial support
286 to the family temporarily lacks the ability to pay support but
287 is reasonably anticipated to have the ability to pay support in
288 the future. The court may also award nominal alimony for an
289 alimony recipient who is presently able to work but for whom a
290 medical condition with a reasonable degree of medical certainty
291 may inhibit or prevent his or her ability to work during the
292 duration of the alimony period. The duration of the nominal
293 alimony shall be established within the presumptive durational
294 range based upon the length of the marriage subject to the
295 alimony factors in paragraph (4)(b). Before the expiration of
296 the durational period, nominal alimony may be modified in
297 accordance with s. 61.14 as to amount to a full alimony award
298 using the alimony guidelines and factors in accordance with s.
300 (7) TAXABILITY AND DEDUCTIBILITY OF ALIMONY.—
301 (a) Unless otherwise stated in the judgment or order for
302 alimony or in an agreement incorporated thereby, alimony shall
303 be deductible from income by the payor under s. 215 of the
304 Internal Revenue Code and includable in the income of the payee
305 under s. 71 of the Internal Revenue Code.
306 (b) When making a judgment or order for alimony, the court
307 may, in its discretion after weighing the equities and tax
308 efficiencies, order alimony be nondeductible from income by the
309 payor and nonincludable in the income of the payee.
310 (c) The parties may, in a marital settlement agreement,
311 separation agreement, or related agreement, specifically agree
312 in writing that alimony be nondeductible from income by the
313 payor and nonincludable in the income of the payee.
314 (8) MAXIMUM COMBINED AWARD.—In no event shall a combined
315 award of alimony and child support constitute more than 55
316 percent of the payor’s net income, calculated without any
317 consideration of alimony or child support obligations.
318 (9) SECURITY OF AWARD.—To the extent necessary to protect
319 an award of alimony, the court may order any party who is
320 ordered to pay alimony to purchase or maintain a decreasing term
321 life insurance policy or a bond, or to otherwise secure such
322 alimony award with any other assets that may be suitable for
323 that purpose, in an amount adequate to secure the alimony award.
324 Any such security may be awarded only upon a showing of special
325 circumstances. If the court finds special circumstances and
326 awards such security, the court must make specific evidentiary
327 findings regarding the availability, cost, and financial impact
328 on the obligated party. Any security may be modifiable in the
329 event the underlying alimony award is modified and shall be
330 reduced in an amount commensurate with any reduction in the
331 alimony award.
332 (10) TERMINATION OF AWARD.—An alimony award shall terminate
333 upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the obligee.
334 (11) MODIFICATION OF AWARD.—A court may subsequently modify
335 or terminate the amount of an award of alimony initially
336 established under this section in accordance with s. 61.14.
337 However, a court may not modify the duration of an award of
338 alimony initially established under this section.
339 (12) PAYMENT OF AWARD.—
340 (a) With respect to an order requiring the payment of
341 alimony entered on or after January 1, 1985, unless paragraph
342 (c) or paragraph (d) applies, the court shall direct in the
343 order that the payments of alimony be made through the
344 appropriate depository as provided in s. 61.181.
345 (b) With respect to an order requiring the payment of
346 alimony entered before January 1, 1985, upon the subsequent
347 appearance, on or after that date, of one or both parties before
348 the court having jurisdiction for the purpose of modifying or
349 enforcing the order or in any other proceeding related to the
350 order, or upon the application of either party, unless paragraph
351 (c) or paragraph (d) applies, the court shall modify the terms
352 of the order as necessary to direct that payments of alimony be
353 made through the appropriate depository as provided in s.
355 (c) If there is no minor child, alimony payments do not
356 need to be directed through the depository.
357 (d)1. If there is a minor child of the parties and both
358 parties so request, the court may order that alimony payments do
359 not need to be directed through the depository. In this case,
360 the order of support shall provide, or be deemed to provide,
361 that either party may subsequently apply to the depository to
362 require that payments be made through the depository. The court
363 shall provide a copy of the order to the depository.
364 2. If subparagraph 1. applies, either party may
365 subsequently file with the clerk of the court a verified motion
366 alleging a default or arrearages in payment stating that the
367 party wishes to initiate participation in the depository
368 program. The moving party shall copy the other party with the
369 motion. No later than 15 days after filing the motion, the court
370 shall conduct an evidentiary hearing establishing the default
371 and arrearages, if any, and issue an order directing the clerk
372 of the circuit court to establish, or amend an existing, family
373 law case history account, and further advising the parties that
374 future payments must thereafter be directed through the
376 3. In IV-D cases, the Title IV-D agency shall have the same
377 rights as the obligee in requesting that payments be made
378 through the depository.
379 Section 3. Subsection (3) of section 61.13, Florida
380 Statutes, is amended to read:
381 61.13 Support of children; parenting and time-sharing;
382 powers of court.—
383 (3) For purposes of establishing or modifying parental
384 responsibility and creating, developing, approving, or modifying
385 a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, which
386 governs each parent’s relationship with his or her minor child
387 and the relationship between each parent with regard to his or
388 her minor child, the best interest of the child shall be the
389 primary consideration.
390 (a) Approximately equal time-sharing with a minor child by
391 both parents is presumed to be in the best interest of the
392 child. In determining whether the presumption is overcome, the
393 court shall evaluate the evidence based on
A determination of
394 parental responsibility, a parenting plan, or a time-sharing
395 schedule may not be modified without a showing of a substantial,
396 material, and unanticipated change in circumstances and a
397 determination that the modification is in the best interests of
398 the child. Determination of the best interests of the child
399 shall be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the
400 welfare and interests of the particular minor child and the
401 circumstances of that family, including , but not limited to:
402 1. (a) The demonstrated capacity or and disposition of each
403 parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing
404 parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule,
405 and to be reasonable when changes are required.
406 2. (b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities
407 after the litigation, including the extent to which parental
408 responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
409 3. (c) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each
410 parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the
411 child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
412 4. (d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable,
413 satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining
415 5. (e) The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with
416 special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and
417 the amount of time to be spent traveling to carry out effectuate
418 the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption
419 for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
420 6. (f) The moral fitness of the parents.
421 7. (g) The mental and physical health of the parents.
422 8. (h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
423 9. (i) The reasonable preference of the child , if the court
424 deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding,
425 and experience to express a preference.
426 10. (j) The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, or and
427 disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances
428 of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s
429 friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and
430 favorite things.
431 11. (k) The demonstrated capacity or and disposition of each
432 parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as
433 discipline , and daily schedules for homework, meals, and
435 12. (l) The demonstrated capacity of each parent to
436 communicate with the other parent and keep the other parent
437 informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and
438 the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all
439 major issues when dealing with the child.
440 13. (m) Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence,
441 child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of
442 whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has
443 been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending
444 actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child
445 abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, the court must
446 specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was
447 considered when evaluating the best interests of the child.
448 14. (n) Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided
449 false information to the court regarding any prior or pending
450 action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child
451 abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
452 15. (o) The demonstrated capacity or disposition of each
453 parent to perform or ensure the performance of particular
454 parenting tasks customarily performed by the other each parent
455 and the division of parental responsibilities before the
456 institution of litigation and during the pending litigation,
457 including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were
458 undertaken by third parties.
459 16. (p) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each
460 parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and
461 extracurricular activities.
462 17. (q) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each
463 parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free
464 from substance abuse.
465 18. (r) The capacity and disposition of each parent to
466 protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by
467 not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing
468 documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the
469 child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other
470 parent to the child.
471 19. (s) The developmental stages and needs of the child and
472 the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet
473 the child’s developmental needs.
474 20. The amount of time-sharing requested by each parent.
475 21. The frequency that a parent would likely leave the
476 child in the care of a nonrelative on evenings and weekends when
477 the other parent would be available and willing to provide care.
478 22. (t) Any other factor that is relevant to the
479 determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time
480 sharing schedule.
481 (b) A court order must be supported by written findings of
482 fact if the order establishes an initial permanent time-sharing
483 schedule that does not provide for approximately equal time
485 (c) A determination of parental responsibility, a parenting
486 plan, or a time-sharing schedule may not be modified without a
487 determination that such modification is in the best interest of
488 the child and upon a showing of a substantial, material, and
489 unanticipated change in circumstances.
490 Section 4. Subsection (1) of section 61.14, Florida
491 Statutes, is amended to read:
492 61.14 Enforcement and modification of support, maintenance,
493 or alimony agreements or orders.—
494 (1)(a) When the parties enter into an agreement for
495 payments for, or instead of, support, maintenance, or alimony,
496 whether in connection with a proceeding for dissolution or
497 separate maintenance or with any voluntary property settlement,
498 or when a party is required by court order to make any payments,
499 and the circumstances or the financial ability of either party
500 changes or the child who is a beneficiary of an agreement or
501 court order as described herein reaches majority after the
502 execution of the agreement or the rendition of the order, either
503 party may apply to the circuit court of the circuit in which the
504 parties, or either of them, resided at the date of the execution
505 of the agreement or reside at the date of the application, or in
506 which the agreement was executed or in which the order was
507 rendered, for an order decreasing or increasing the amount of
508 support, maintenance, or alimony, and the court has jurisdiction
509 to make orders as equity requires, with due regard to the
510 changed circumstances or the financial ability of the parties or
511 the child, decreasing, increasing, or confirming the amount of
512 separate support, maintenance, or alimony provided for in the
513 agreement or order. However, a court may not decrease or
514 increase the duration of alimony provided for in the agreement
515 or order. A party is entitled to pursue an immediate
516 modification of alimony if the actual income earned by the other
517 party exceeds by at least 10 percent the amount imputed to that
518 party at the time the existing alimony award was determined and
519 such circumstance shall constitute a substantial change in
520 circumstances sufficient to support a modification of alimony.
521 However, an increase in an alimony obligor’s income alone does
522 not constitute a basis for a modification to increase alimony
523 unless at the time the alimony award was established it was
524 determined that the obligor was underemployed or unemployed and
525 the court did not impute income to that party at his or her
526 maximum potential income. If an alimony obligor becomes
527 involuntarily underemployed or unemployed for a period of 6
528 months following the entry of the last order requiring the
529 payment of alimony, the obligor is entitled to pursue an
530 immediate modification of his or her existing alimony
531 obligations and such circumstance shall constitute a substantial
532 change in circumstance sufficient to support a modification of
533 alimony. A finding that medical insurance is reasonably
534 available or the child support guidelines schedule in s. 61.30
535 may constitute changed circumstances. Except as otherwise
536 provided in s. 61.30(11)(c), the court may modify an order of
537 support, maintenance, or alimony by increasing or decreasing the
538 support, maintenance, or alimony retroactively to the date of
539 the filing of the action or supplemental action for modification
540 as equity requires, giving due regard to the changed
541 circumstances or the financial ability of the parties or the
543 (b)1. The court may reduce or terminate an award of alimony
544 upon specific written findings by the court that since the
545 granting of a divorce and the award of alimony a supportive
546 relationship exists or has existed within the previous year
547 before the date of the filing of the petition for modification
548 or termination between the obligee and another a person with
549 whom the obligee resides. On the issue of whether alimony should
550 be reduced or terminated under this paragraph, the burden is on
551 the obligor to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a
552 supportive relationship exists.
553 2. In determining whether an existing award of alimony
554 should be reduced or terminated because of an alleged supportive
555 relationship between an obligee and a person who is not related
556 by consanguinity or affinity and with whom the obligee resides,
557 the court shall elicit the nature and extent of the relationship
558 in question. The court shall give consideration, without
559 limitation, to circumstances, including, but not limited to, the
560 following, in determining the relationship of an obligee to
561 another person:
562 a. The extent to which the obligee and the other person
563 have held themselves out as a married couple by engaging in
564 conduct such as using the same last name, using a common mailing
565 address, referring to each other in terms such as “my husband”
566 or “my wife,” “my spouse” or otherwise conducting themselves in
567 a manner that evidences a permanent supportive relationship.
568 b. The period of time that the obligee has resided with the
569 other person in a permanent place of abode.
570 c. The extent to which the obligee and the other person
571 have pooled their assets or income or otherwise exhibited
572 financial interdependence.
573 d. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has
574 supported the other, in whole or in part.
575 e. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has
576 performed valuable services for the other.
577 f. The extent to which the obligee or the other person has
578 performed valuable services for the other’s company or employer.
579 g. Whether the obligee and the other person have worked
580 together to create or enhance anything of value.
581 h. Whether the obligee and the other person have jointly
582 contributed to the purchase of any real or personal property.
583 i. Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the
584 other person have an express agreement regarding property
585 sharing or support.
586 j. Evidence in support of a claim that the obligee and the
587 other person have an implied agreement regarding property
588 sharing or support.
589 k. Whether the obligee and the other person have provided
590 support to the children of one another, regardless of any legal
591 duty to do so.
592 l. Whether the obligor’s failure, in whole or in part, to
593 comply with all court-ordered financial obligations to the
594 obligee constituted a significant factor in the establishment of
595 the supportive relationship.
596 3. In any proceeding to modify an alimony award based upon
597 a supportive relationship, the obligor has the burden of proof
598 to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a
599 supportive relationship exists or has existed within the
600 previous year before the date of the filing of the petition for
601 modification or termination. The obligor is not required to
602 prove cohabitation of the obligee and the third party.
603 4. Notwithstanding paragraph (f), if a reduction or
604 termination is granted under this paragraph, the reduction or
605 termination is retroactive to the date of filing of the petition
606 for reduction or termination.
607 5. 3. This paragraph does not abrogate the requirement that
608 every marriage in this state be solemnized under a license, does
609 not recognize a common law marriage as valid, and does not
610 recognize a de facto marriage. This paragraph recognizes only
611 that relationships do exist that provide economic support
612 equivalent to a marriage and that alimony terminable on
613 remarriage may be reduced or terminated upon the establishment
614 of equivalent equitable circumstances as described in this
615 paragraph. The existence of a conjugal relationship, though it
616 may be relevant to the nature and extent of the relationship, is
617 not necessary for the application of the provisions of this
619 (c)1. For purposes of this section, the remarriage of an
620 alimony obligor does not constitute a substantial change in
621 circumstance or a basis for a modification of alimony.
622 2. The financial information, including, but not limited
623 to, information related to assets and income, of a subsequent
624 spouse of a party paying or receiving alimony is inadmissible
625 and may not be considered as a part of any modification action
626 unless a party is claiming that his or her income has decreased
627 since the marriage. If a party makes such a claim, the financial
628 information of the subsequent spouse is discoverable and
629 admissible only to the extent necessary to establish whether the
630 party claiming that his or her income has decreased is diverting
631 income or assets to the subsequent spouse that might otherwise
632 be available for the payment of alimony. However, this
633 subparagraph may not be used to prevent the discovery of or
634 admissibility in evidence of the income or assets of a party
635 when those assets are held jointly with a subsequent spouse.
636 This subparagraph is not intended to prohibit the discovery or
637 admissibility of a joint tax return filed by a party and his or
638 her subsequent spouse in connection with a modification of
640 (d)1. An obligor may file a petition for modification or
641 termination of an alimony award based upon his or her actual
643 a. A substantial change in circumstance is deemed to exist
645 (I) The obligor has reached the age for eligibility to
646 receive full retirement benefits under s. 216 of the Social
647 Security Act, 42 U.S.C. s. 416, and has retired; or
648 (II) The obligor has reached the customary retirement age
649 for his or her occupation and has retired from that occupation.
650 An obligor may file an action within 1 year of his or her
651 anticipated retirement date and the court shall determine the
652 customary retirement date for the obligor’s profession. However,
653 a determination of the customary retirement age is not an
654 adjudication of a petition for a modification of an alimony
656 b. If an obligor voluntarily retires before reaching any of
657 the ages described in sub-subparagraph a., the court shall
658 determine whether the obligor’s retirement is reasonable upon
659 consideration of the obligor’s age, health, and motivation for
660 retirement and the financial impact on the obligee. A finding of
661 reasonableness by the court shall constitute a substantial
662 change in circumstance.
663 2. Upon a finding of a substantial change in circumstance,
664 there is a rebuttable presumption that an obligor’s existing
665 alimony obligation shall be modified or terminated. The court
666 shall modify or terminate the alimony obligation, or make a
667 determination regarding whether the rebuttable presumption has
668 been overcome, based upon the following factors applied to the
669 current circumstances of the obligor and obligee:
670 a. The age of the parties.
671 b. The health of the parties.
672 c. The assets and liabilities of the parties.
673 d. The earned or imputed income of the parties as provided
674 in s. 61.08(1)(a) and (5).
675 e. The ability of the parties to maintain part-time or
676 full-time employment.
677 f. Any other factor deemed relevant by the court.
678 3. The court may temporarily reduce or suspend the
679 obligor’s payment of alimony while his or her petition for
680 modification or termination under this paragraph is pending.
681 (e) A party who unreasonably pursues or defends an action
682 for modification of alimony shall be required to pay the
683 reasonable attorney fees and costs of the prevailing party.
684 Further, a party obligated to pay prevailing party attorney fees
685 and costs in connection with unreasonably pursuing or defending
686 an action for modification is not entitled to an award of
687 attorney fees and cost in accordance with s. 61.16.
688 (f) There is a rebuttable presumption that a modification
689 or termination of an alimony award is retroactive to the date of
690 the filing of the petition, unless the obligee demonstrates that
691 the result is inequitable.
692 (g) (c) For each support order reviewed by the department as
693 required by s. 409.2564(11), if the amount of the child support
694 award under the order differs by at least 10 percent but not
695 less than $25 from the amount that would be awarded under s.
696 61.30, the department shall seek to have the order modified and
697 any modification shall be made without a requirement for proof
698 or showing of a change in circumstances.
699 (h) (d) The department may shall have authority to adopt
700 rules to implement this section.
701 Section 5. Paragraph (d) is added to subsection (11) of
702 section 61.30, Florida Statutes, to read:
703 61.30 Child support guidelines; retroactive child support.—
705 (d) Whenever a combined alimony and child support award
706 constitutes more than 55 percent of the payor’s net income,
707 calculated without any consideration of alimony or child support
708 obligations, the court shall adjust the award of child support
709 to ensure that the 55 percent cap is not exceeded.
710 Section 6. Section 61.192, Florida Statutes, is created to
712 61.192 Advancing trial.—In an action brought pursuant to
713 this chapter, if more than 2 years have passed since the initial
714 petition was served on the respondent, either party may move the
715 court to advance the trial of their action on the docket. This
716 motion may be made at any time after 2 years have passed since
717 the petition was served, and once made the court must give the
718 case priority on the court’s calendar.
719 Section 7. The amendments made by this act to chapter 61,
720 Florida Statutes, apply to all initial determinations of alimony
721 and all alimony modification actions that are pending as of the
722 effective date of this act, and to all initial determinations of
723 alimony and all alimony modification actions brought on or after
724 the effective date of this act. The enacting of this act may not
725 serve as the sole basis for a party to seek a modification of an
726 alimony award existing before the effective date of this act.
727 Section 8. This act shall take effect October 1, 2015.
729 ================= T I T L E A M E N D M E N T ================
730 And the title is amended as follows:
731 Delete everything before the enacting clause
732 and insert:
733 A bill to be entitled
734 An act relating to family law; amending s. 61.071,
735 F.S.; requiring a court to consider certain alimony
736 factors and make specific written findings of fact
737 after making specified determinations; prohibiting a
738 court from using certain presumptive alimony
739 guidelines in calculating alimony pendente lite;
740 amending s. 61.08, F.S.; defining terms; requiring a
741 court to make specified initial written findings in a
742 dissolution of marriage proceeding where a party has
743 requested alimony; requiring a court to make specified
744 findings before ruling on a request for alimony;
745 providing for determinations of presumptive alimony
746 amount range and duration range; providing
747 presumptions concerning alimony awards depending on
748 the duration of marriages; providing for imputation of
749 income in certain circumstances; providing for awards
750 of nominal alimony in certain circumstances; providing
751 for taxability and deductibility of alimony awards;
752 prohibiting a combined award of alimony and child
753 support from constituting more than a specified
754 percentage of a payor’s net income; authorizing the
755 court to order a party to protect an alimony award by
756 specified means; providing for termination of an
757 award; authorizing a court to modify or terminate the
758 amount of an initial alimony award; prohibiting a
759 court from modifying the duration of an alimony award;
760 providing for payment of awards; amending s. 61.13,
761 F.S.; creating a presumption that approximately equal
762 time-sharing by both parents is in the best interests
763 of the child; revising a finite list of factors that a
764 court must evaluate when determining whether the
765 presumption of approximately equal time-sharing is
766 overcome; requiring a court order to be supported by
767 written findings of fact under certain circumstances;
768 amending s. 61.14, F.S.; providing that a party may
769 pursue an immediate modification of alimony in certain
770 circumstances; revising factors to be considered in
771 determining whether an existing award of alimony
772 should be reduced or terminated because of an alleged
773 supportive relationship; providing for burden of proof
774 for claims concerning the existence of supportive
775 relationships; providing for the effective date of a
776 reduction or termination of an alimony award;
777 providing that the remarriage of an alimony obligor is
778 not a substantial change in circumstance; providing
779 that the financial information of a spouse of a party
780 paying or receiving alimony is inadmissible and
781 undiscoverable; providing an exception; providing for
782 modification or termination of an award based on a
783 party’s retirement; providing a presumption upon a
784 finding of a substantial change in circumstance;
785 specifying factors to be considered in determining
786 whether to modify or terminate an award based on a
787 substantial change in circumstance; providing for a
788 temporary suspension of an obligor’s payment of
789 alimony while his or her petition for modification or
790 termination is pending; providing for an effective
791 date of a modification or termination of an award;
792 providing for an award of attorney fees and costs for
793 unreasonably pursuing or defending a modification of
794 an award; amending s. 61.30, F.S.; providing that
795 whenever a combined alimony and child support award
796 constitutes more than a specified percentage of a
797 payor’s net income, the child support award be
798 adjusted to reduce the combined total; creating s.
799 61.192, F.S.; providing for motions to advance the
800 trial of certain actions if a specified period has
801 passed since the initial service on the respondent;
802 providing applicability; providing an effective date.