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Florida's alimony reformation bills could bring sweeping changes

State laws concerning alimony vary from state to state. In Texas, alimony is only awarded if a marriage lasted for 10 years or more; while in Utah, alimony payments are made for a period of time equal to how long the marriage lasted.

Here in Minnesota, there are two types of alimony - permanent maintenance and temporary/rehabilitative maintenance. The latter means that payments are made to a former spouse for a finite amount of time, while the former also awards payments, but based on a former spouse lacking the ability to be self-sufficient due to other circumstances.

No matter the state, change could be approaching the national landscape of alimony laws. Florida legislators are introducing a bill to revise the state's alimony laws, limiting the duration of alimony based on the length of the dissolved marriage, capping alimony payments at 20% of the net monthly income of the paying spouse, and terminating alimony when the spouse reaches 66 years of age, currently the age of full retirement.

The bill will also allow those currently paying alimony to retroactively change their spousal maintenance agreement so that it meets the standards set by the bill.

Some are saying the new bill is misogynistic, others say the bill is updating the current laws to better reflect the realities of present-day marriage (and post-marriage). Still, similar bills were passed in both New Jersey and Massachusetts. It may not be long before alimony laws across the nation are altered in some way to address the modern reality that most of the time, both spouses in a household work.

Source: Huffington Post, "Cheaper to Keep Her? Not Anymore..." Jason Marks, Jan. 3, 2012

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