Marriage is for better or worse, till death or divorce do you part. But in some states, even divorce isn't enough to unattached oneself from an ex-spouse. While most states have amended or repealed their laws regarding permanent alimony, several states, including Florida, still allow for permanent alimony. States that still offer permanent alimony are seeing a growing movement to change those laws.
These movements are growing as more women are being made to pay permanent alimony and potential spouses of alimony payers fear having their income considered for an alimony payment increase. Those who receive alimony payments are holding off on marriage out of fear of losing the lifelong payments, choosing instead to cohabitate. While laws very state to state, alimony payments can seemingly run on the side of ridiculous as some people are made to pay in excess of $90,000 a year in alimony. The amount of the payments are sometimes so great that people end up paying more of their income to ex-spouses than they are able to keep.
Permanent alimony usually last until the spouse receiving payments re-marries or either party dies. These payments can cut into retirement accounts and even Social Security payments. In Florida there are no statutes constraining the amount and length of time for alimony payments. Judges have wide discretion when deciding such matters and have the ability to arbitrarily award the payments. Bills have been introduced in several states including Florida to amend the laws regarding alimony payments.
Permanent alimony can be a difficult issue for ex-spouses to navigate, whether during the divorce process or after years of payments. An experienced divorce attorney can help individuals understand the law, assess their payments and fight for a fair agreement.
Source: U.S. News, "Taking the 'Permanent' Out of Permanent Alimony," Geoff Williams, Jan. 23, 2013