Marital & Family Law Blog

Big Changes to Florida’s Alimony and Timesharing Laws

By: Jodi Furr Colton


Florida’s Alimony statute, Fla. Stat. 61.08, has been revamped by the Florida legislature. The new law was signed by the Governor on June 30, 2023, and took effect July 1, 2023.

The statute makes broad changes regarding various aspects of alimony, including the criteria for modification. This article focuses on how the changes will affect initial alimony determinations.

What is the biggest change?

The most significant change in the new law is the elimination of permanent alimony in favor of a formula-based system that establishes the maximum length of time alimony can be paid and caps the amount of alimony.

Forms of Alimony

Until now, Florida had four different types or forms of alimony:  permanent, durational, rehabilitative, and bridge-the-gap. While permanent alimony is now a thing of the past, the other three forms of alimony continue to exist. To determine which form is appropriate, the Court is required to consider a long list of factors, including the duration of the marriage, the parties’ incomes and earning capacity, the standard of living and the anticipated “needs and necessities of life for each party” after divorce. The Court can award more than one type of alimony under appropriate circumstances.

Under the new law, durational alimony may only be awarded in a marriage of three or more years. Bridge-the-gap alimony remains available in a very short marriage, but can only be awarded for up to two years.

How Long Does Alimony Continue?

The law caps the length of time for which durational alimony may be awarded based on a percentage of the length of the marriage.  For a short-term marriage (less than 10 years), durational alimony lasts no more than 50% of the length of the marriage; for a moderate term marriage (10-20 years), durational alimony lasts no more than 60% of the length of the marriage; and for a long term marriage (20 or more years), durational alimony lasts no more than 75% of the length of the marriage. The caps can be extended only under “exceptional circumstances” based on certain factors listed in the statute.

How is the Amount of Alimony Determined?

The new law provides that the amount of durational alimony to be awarded is the amount of recipient’s “reasonable need”. However, the law caps the amount of alimony at 35% of the difference between the Parties’ net incomes. The statute does not address how the Court is to determine what is “reasonable.”

Net income is defined by reference to Fla. Stat. 61.30(2) and (3), which is the statute governing how income is calculated for purposes of child support.  It provides a detailed list of what can and cannot be included as part of gross income. It includes income in all forms, including taxable and non-taxable.

Under the old law, income could be imputed to a spouse who is unemployed, works part-time, or who chooses to work at a low-earning job. Under the new statute, the Court is required to impute income to a voluntarily unemployed or underemployed spouse based upon recent work history, occupational qualifications, and prevailing earnings level in the community.

How Does the Court Decide?

As with the former statute, there are number of factors enumerated in the new law that the court may consider in determining the “proper form or forms” of alimony.  The court must assess all relevant factors in making its decision.

It is also important to note that in some instances the new law establishes only presumptions, not absolutes.  At most steps in the analysis the parties have an opportunity to convince the court why application of these presumptions would be unfair or inequitable.



The legislature also amended Florida Statute 61.13, regarding parental responsibility and timesharing.  The Bill was signed into law by the Governor on June 27, 2023. It will apply to all currently pending cases and those that are filed after July 1st.

Under the former law there was no presumption for or against any allocation of timesharing, or in favor of either the mother or father. This gave the Court a blank slate to determine the appropriate percentage of timesharing with each parent.  The new statute requires the court to begin with the presumption that children should spend equal time with each parent. For the Court to order anything other than equal timesharing, one parent must prove “by a preponderance of the evidence” – a very tough standard – that equal timesharing is not in the best interest of the child. The Court is required to formulate a timesharing schedule that is in the best interest of each child after consideration of various statutory factors.  In other words, equal timesharing will be the rule, to which there can sometimes be exceptions.


The 2023 legislative session brought a wave of changes that will impact families in many ways.  Revisions to Fla. Stat 61.08 and 61.13 also affect actions for modification of alimony, child support and timesharing, as well as termination of alimony upon retirement. Upcoming articles will address these additional topics.