More perfect disunion: Gov. DeSantis approves end to permanent alimony

divorce alimony reform (Large)
The Governor vetoed a more controversial divorce bill last year.

Permanent alimony is no more in Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation (SB 1416) that overhauls divorce law in Florida. The most notable change eliminates the possibility of divorced couples remaining eternally tied together financially.

The measure was among the last items passed by the Legislature awaiting action by the Governor. It will go into effect July 1, a day after DeSantis signed it.

The signing ends years of efforts to reform the divorce process in Florida. Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, had sponsored the Senate bill. Rep. John Temple, a Wildwood Republican, championed the legislation in the House.

Florida Family Fairness led a petition campaign encouraging backers of the bill to reach out to DeSantis.

“This bill allows both parties to retire with dignity, while giving the courts discretion to protect vulnerable alimony recipients,” read the petition. “There has never been a fairer and more balanced proposal to change Florida’s antiquated alimony laws.”

But any proposed changes to alimony have also drawn opposition for years. The First Wives Advocacy Group said the legislation puts women in a worse position in instances of divorce, and ultimately also hurts children impacted by the process.

“Our first concern is with the retroactive application of the bill. Our second concern is the lack of enforcement under the current law, and our third concern is that the bill has, in our opinion, been pushed through for a decade by a terror group,” said organization spokesperson Jan Killilea. “Women who have been critical of the alimony reform bill have been subjected to verbal attacks on social media.”

The organization expressed surprise and concern that DeSantis signed the bill.

“On behalf of the thousands of women who our group represents, we are very disappointed in the Governor’s decision to sign the alimony reform bill,” reads a statement released by Killilea. “We believe by signing it, he has put older women in a situation which will cause financial devastation. The so-called party of ‘family values’ has just contributed to erosion of the institution of marriage in Florida.”

Supporters of the bill say fear of retroactivity is misplaced, and that lawmakers made sure the legislative language would not impact existing divorce decrees and settled cases.

Divorce lawyers say in practical effect, the new law embeds in statute many changes that have unfolded slowly within courtrooms.

“We don’t expect the changes to alimony in Florida to have a profound effect on what we do at the DeWitt Law Firm,” said lawyer Moses DeWitt. “It’s simply going to codify a lot of what the case law already says. While there are some changes, I don’t think we will see a significant impact on the amount or length of most alimony awards. The changes likely won’t be as drastic as some think they are going to be.”

Concerns from women’s groups prompted DeSantis to veto a similar bill passed by the Legislature last year. Before DeSantis, Gov. Rick Scott also vetoed prior legislation dealing with the same subject.

Gruters believed lawmakers had finally found a space of compromise on the issue. The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar opposed last year’s legislation, but this year voiced support.

“I appreciate the Governor signing SB 1416 legislation into law. It’s long overdue and a win for Florida families,” Gruters said. “Special thanks to House sponsor Rep. John Temple and to (lawyers) Lisa Hurley and Nelson Diaz for your tireless work.”

Parties in negotiation said they landed in a place amenable to all engaged in the legal proceedings of divorce.

“The Family Law Section of The Florida Bar supported legislation to make commonsense modifications to Florida’s alimony laws this Session, including the elimination of permanent alimony and the preservation of the longstanding Pimm decision, which pertains to the effects of retirement on alimony awards,” reads a joint statement provided by Family Law Section Chair Sarah Kay and immediate Past Chair Philip Wartenberg.

“Importantly, and differentiating it from past legislation, this bill did not include provisions that would negatively impact existing alimony awards or otherwise be harmful to Florida’s families.”

The pair issued a statement after the bill’s signing praising DeSantis.

“We thank Governor DeSantis for signing legislation into law that provides for commonsense modifications to alimony, including the elimination of permanent alimony and the preservation of the longstanding Pimm decision, which pertains to the effects of retirement on alimony awards,” Kay and Wartenberg said.

“Importantly, the section was grateful to have worked with the sponsors of this legislation during the 2023 session to ensure it would not negatively impact existing alimony awards or otherwise be harmful to Florida’s families.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Terry Power

    June 30, 2023 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you Senator Gruters for your total commitment to this effort.

    It’s been a 15 year fight that has involved several wonderful bill sponsors and scores of supportive legislators.

    Today’s signature by Gov. DeSantis is a win for marriage and a win for Florida families.

    Thank you to the Family Section of the Florida Bar as well. Their willingness to bring forth a reasonable compromise bill to settle this contentious issue is why we are here today.

    But most of all, thank you to our Alimony Reform team for refusing to quit, even when faced against seemingly insurmountable odds.

    The victory is worth the struggle.

    • Nevada Bedwell

      July 1, 2023 at 10:15 am

      Thank you Terry for all your work on this.
      Most probably don’t remember the “ early days” of fighting for reform when you started the movement.

    • Dr.Bobby Rodriguez

      July 1, 2023 at 10:36 am

      We’ll done Terry. I’m sorry u got divorce hosed but it was not in vain. It set the stage for this victory

    • Vanessa Gonzalez

      July 2, 2023 at 1:14 pm

      How will this bill impact previous alimonies in place ? Can any modifications be made ?

  • Jeffrey D Mccallister

    June 30, 2023 at 7:03 pm

    I am ready to move in now I need you very soon so please get back with me as soon as you can thank you

  • Jeffrey D Mccallister

    June 30, 2023 at 7:05 pm

    I’m currently ready to move now and meeting needing to as soon as possible so please let me know I really like the home and we’ll definitely take care of it I did not drink and all and I did not have parties other than for food

  • Dr. Bobby Rodriguez

    June 30, 2023 at 8:02 pm

    Governor DeSantis: Well done and well done! This is a win for marriage, feminism, and capitalism.

  • Patricia N

    July 1, 2023 at 7:27 am

    How can Ron Desantis restrict payments to ex-spouses who have entered into a common-law marriage when Florida does not recognize common-law marriage? Those of us with long-term domestic partners are restricted from many benefits. It seems the governor is getting to have his cake and eat it too!

    • Tom

      July 1, 2023 at 7:44 am

      I was wondering about that myself. Apparently Florida does recognize common law marriages from other states just not from Florida so if I lived with my domestic partner for 10 years in another state and 10 years in Florida, what would be my status? Maybe he just writes crappy laws that are subject to appeal as seems be the case with pretty much every bill that the State has written lately.
      Desantis is like a seagull at the beach after everybody’s french fries – just flapping up a frenzy and crapping all over everything.

  • Terry Power

    July 1, 2023 at 7:30 am

    So now you can get married instead of playing games to milk alimony! See, we saved marriage in Florida! Congratulations on your engagement!

    • Janet Quilici

      July 2, 2023 at 12:54 am

      Hopefully you are being sarcastic

  • Sandra

    July 1, 2023 at 8:52 am

    We will see what The Florida Supreme Court had to say about this. It’s not over by any means. Stay tuned.

    • Nevada Bedwell

      July 1, 2023 at 10:00 am

      You could just go get a job !!

    • Terry Power

      July 1, 2023 at 1:09 pm

      Knock yourself out, Sandra. This bill is 100% Constitutional. You have a nice day.

      • Sandra

        July 1, 2023 at 1:53 pm

        Well let’s let the Supreme Court decide that, shan’t we?
        Meanwhile, u can review your own bill for the 10 factors (a-j) a Judge must consider in determining alimony in the event of retirement. Like I said, reduction or termination IS NOT guaranteed. Happy 4th! We are done here. Lol!

  • Told you so

    July 1, 2023 at 9:59 am

    I do wonder if these women learned their lesson. Their votes for Republicans contributed to this. Their thinking that Republican elected officials would help them? How did that work for you? And blocking people telling you the truth doesn’t change that truth. Blaming a few Dems who voted for it THIS TIME doesn’t change the fact that they voted against it previously.

    But keep on voting R. See how much more you can destroy now and for future generations. I no longer have anything to worry about. My kid aged out so no child custody crap, and I didn’t get ‘official’ alimony, and what I got unofficially I have no way to enforce it. I won’t ever see it. So keep on keeping on, voting against your best interest, voting for the party that will destroy this state. Your alimony crap isn’t the only thing they screwed up.

    • Nevada Bedwell

      July 1, 2023 at 10:10 am

      Oh We will keep voting Republican! What a great week for freedom! No more 70, 80, 90 year olds paying alimony! Freedom of religion and I don’t have to pay for your student loans says supreme court this week. And of course no more discrimination to get into college.
      After 21 years on active duty , My ex got 50 percent of my military retirement and we were only married 10 years while I was on active duty. In addition she got life time alimony! For a 12 year marriage.
      Oh you day she must not be able to work ? Nope she has BSN and is a registered Nurse. So why Im I writing this now?
      This will never happen to another soldier in Florida ever again. The family courts of Florida are directly responsible for so many suicides by service members. Giving life time alimony and taking their military pension. Absolutely communism. Thank God it won’t have to happen to anyone else.

      • Dr.Bobby Rodriguez

        July 1, 2023 at 10:41 am

        I’m so sorry. This happened to one of my undergraduate students. U served ur country and ur country did this to you. I’m so very sorry

      • Frank

        July 4, 2023 at 2:09 am

        Exactally, brother…the messed up part is that she always worked making 45k plus bonuses, no kids, 42yo, kept two cars, house, $58k of my TSP and the court gave her my entire retirement monthly pay. She was unfaithful and was the one to break the marriage, but she get rewarded for it. Leaving me almost homeless.Four years into the divorce and the judge keeps opening the case so that I pay her more money

    • Dr.Bobby Rodriguez

      July 1, 2023 at 10:34 am

      Have u considered getting a job?

      • Nevada Bedwell

        July 1, 2023 at 10:39 am

        I hope I don’t understand your comment but it appears tour telling me to get a job? 21 years 3 tours Iraq is not a job ?
        Obviously I still work or how else would I pay lifetime alimony?

        • Dr.Bobby Rodriguez

          July 1, 2023 at 10:42 am

          No. The previous commenter. I just saw this too. Thank u for ur service!!

        • Dr.Bobby Rodriguez

          July 1, 2023 at 10:45 am

          I was responding to Told You So

          • Nevada Bedwell

            July 1, 2023 at 11:34 am

            Thank you , the good thing is no corrupt Judge will ever be able to do what happened to me again !

          • Told you so

            July 1, 2023 at 3:43 pm

            You don’t seem to understand. I don’t care. I don’t care if alimony continued. I don’t care if it stopped. I was involved at one point because child custody was a part of it. That’s not an issue for me, my child aged out. And I have a great relationship with him, and they have no relationship with dad. That was not my goal, but after the decade of garbage we both endured, I was happy it went down the way it did.

            So gloat. I do not care either way. I got what I wanted and trust me, I honestly don’t care for either side.

    • Deb

      July 3, 2023 at 9:57 am

      That is bullshit
      This isn’t political
      This is about morons failing for “no fault”
      Sue for divorce on grounds and get it over with by non jury trial
      Forcing negotiations is making the judicial system (democratic leaning bs) and attorneys richer

  • Nunyo478

    July 1, 2023 at 10:17 am

    This bill doesn’t just affect one gender alone, it affects all genders equally. But, I only really see one gender complaining about this bill. I also believe anyone has already have a court order should be grandfathered and any new cases should adhere to the new standard that is set in law.

  • Sandra

    July 1, 2023 at 10:21 am

    You might want to read the Bill. Termination of alimony is not automatic just because you retire. There are many factors the judge gets to decide on as to whether or not alimony continues or terminates. It’s not necessarily a win for alimony payers. Lots of Judicial discretion.

    • Nevada Bedwell

      July 1, 2023 at 12:59 pm

      Ya lets do all we can to keep those selfish people from retiring! I mean really your allowed to stop paying life time alimony at age 70 or 80 or even 90!!
      Lmao the gravy train is coming to an end !!!!!

    • Terry Power

      July 1, 2023 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Sandra. I helped to write the bill.

      As long as you’re at full SS age and the ex isn’t left destitute (they can receive SS, for instance), it’s over.

      • Sandra

        July 1, 2023 at 1:30 pm

        Gosh I guess we will see, won’t we. I assure you it’s not over.

        • Don F

          July 2, 2023 at 6:01 am

          After reading many of your comments, it is quite obvious you only considered your husband to be your ATM machine, and nothing more. And, you are upset because he cancelled your debit card.

  • Dont Say FLA

    July 1, 2023 at 10:39 am

    While it’s shocking that Moms For Liberty allowed Rhonda to do this, I’ll give a +1 to Rhonda in the “potentially prevented mass shootings” column for this bill even though that’s an absolutely unintended side effect consequence of Rhonda’s bill that will never have crossed Rhonda’s widdle mind.

  • Alan Frisher

    July 1, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    Congratulations to everyone who joined in the effort over the last 14 years. As the former President of Family Law Reform, an organization, at its peak, consisting of 13000 members… I have helped lead the effort (and struggle) through numerous testimonies in Tallahassee, educational opportunities to Family Law representatives, arguments from outside organizations as well as arguments from within our own organization, and three veto’s. Patience is a virtue and justice may not always be swift. The elimination of permanent alimony was the correct protocol for the State. Nothing should be permanent in the law, and alimony is no exception. When times change, and economies change…so should laws to keep up with current trends and lifestyles. I am proud to have played a part in enabling this important legislation to occur.

  • Sandra

    July 1, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    You could have retired under the old law with a change in circumstances. You really should read these bills. It would do you a world of good.

    • Terry Power

      July 1, 2023 at 7:03 pm

      Now it’s virtually automatic if you file for a Summary Judgment. And if you ex fights it, you open up massive discovery and depositions.

      They won’t be able to do the same, btw.

      Less legal bills, more predictability, easy peasy.

      As long as the payer is at full SS age and the recipient is eligible to collect ANY SS benefits, it’s done. And the Courts must rule properly.

      It’s a beautiful thing.

      • John Blaine

        July 1, 2023 at 8:11 pm

        How do I get the judge to deliver a summary judgment with this bill? This bill seems no more than a typical modification at retirement thing.

  • Terry Power

    July 1, 2023 at 8:36 pm

    Read the bill. Consult with a qualified family law attorney. Easy peasy.

  • Sandra

    July 2, 2023 at 8:35 am

    I have one. It pays minimum wage because I sacrificed a career/retirement to support my ex husbands career and raise a family.

    • Jane

      July 4, 2023 at 12:46 am

      How does no one understand this? Earning potential is nil after being out of the workforce and without experience for 25 years. And in those 25 years, I had many children and stayed home to raise them as he traveled for work.

      • Nevada Bedwell

        July 4, 2023 at 7:49 am

        You can thank the parasites for this bill.
        Your the minority who got lifetime alimony. You see corrupt Judges , the wonderful family law attorneys is why this passed. To many people were getting lifetime sentences who were married 7-17 years marriage. Yes it happened all the time. I was married 12 years and got a lifetime sentence, plus 1/2 military retirement, and yes she is a RN and makes near 100,000 herself. So again you can thank the corrupt Judges for all their abuse of discretion for this bill. It still is not even close to be what should be done.

  • Sandra

    July 2, 2023 at 8:54 am

    Well you can say that but you
    Forgot the part where I ran his household, provided housekeeping, cooked his meals and raised his kids while he worked. The ATM could not have held enough $ to pay for all these services.

    • Jane

      July 4, 2023 at 12:48 am


    • Frank

      July 5, 2023 at 12:37 am

      Sandra, That’s what you suppose to do when your married. you ran YOUR household, you cleaned YOUR house, you cooked YOUR family’s meals, and raised YOUR kids. So I ask how much money did you bring to the household? Did you pay any bills in the household? Sorry to tell you but don’t expect to get praises for doing your job.

  • Nevada Bedwell

    July 2, 2023 at 9:04 am

    Unfortunately for you everyone has the right to retire. Oh and by the way “ his kids” those are your kids as well, Im sure you have collected for years and years. This finally passed because no one could deny the abuse and corruption anymore in the courts. You will still get your pound of flesh via child support and alimony ( adult child support)for minimum 1/2 the years of your marriage. Stop crying your still getting more than other person who has to restart there career.

  • Sandra

    July 2, 2023 at 9:15 am

    Not crying at all just waiting for the Supreme Court ruling on this bill. Btw yes they are my kids too but if I had worked outside of the home there would have been day care bills. Oh one more thing, not many people respond to resumes from a 68 year old. Ask me how I know. Lol

  • Nevada Bedwell

    July 2, 2023 at 9:22 am

    Wow 68 y/o receiving SS and lifetime alimony, and if you were married more than 10 years you get the exact same ss as your ex does. Pretty sweat deal.

    • Molly Gates

      July 2, 2023 at 5:14 pm

      Same SS? This is not correct. You will receive half unless he/she dies.

      • Nevada Bedwell

        July 4, 2023 at 7:50 am

        You really should do more homework, that is not correct.

      • Steve

        July 5, 2023 at 2:57 pm

        true – you are correct Molly.

  • Nobody Important

    July 2, 2023 at 10:52 am

    This seems like a common sense law. And I’m not opposed to alimony as a compensatory measure.

    It just shouldn’t be *permanent* or have a duration longer than the marriage. If the marriage isn’t permanent, why should the alimony be? Under prior FL law, permanent alimony was presumptive at 17+ years of marriage. Someone could conceivably be paying alimony 2X – 3X more years than the marriage.

    There are a few states that still allow permanent alimony (notably NC and SC) and I hope they soon follow Florida’s lead and end the practice.

    Good riddance to permanent alimony in Florida.

  • Nobody Important

    July 2, 2023 at 12:12 pm

    Another point to consider–

    Over the years, marriage rates have fallen precipitously. Too many people don’t want to admit the role of family courts and needlessly-adversarial laws in this.

    If you don’t want people playing the game, take away the prizes. That’s something the family law industry doesn’t want people to dwell on — all the perverse incentives to break marriages and families apart.

    Here’s a thought experiment–make the case for marriage. Particularly for men. Every guy knows of at least one man who’s been screwed over in family court through no fault of his own. 75% of divorces are initiated by the woman and 80% of custodial parents are mothers.

    Now add permanent alimony to the mix.

    Fact of the matter is, the laws in most states provide nothing but disincentives for guys to marry and incentives for women to divorce. That is the furthest thing from pro-family policies.

    Women view marriage more favorably than men — at least in the aggregate — because there’s a high chance they keep all of their after-tax income, get custody of the kids, and are very likely the recipient of additional after-tax income via child support.

    Now add in permanent alimony for FL.

    If you’re a young man…why get married? 50% chance you’ll have a divorce, 80% chance you’ll lose the kids and pay child support. And, God forbid you were married in FL for 17+ years…you’d owe PERMANENT alimony prior to July 1.

    DeSantis, for all his faults, did two things that might help repair the damage to families in Florida. Signing the bill ending permanent alimony is one of them. The other was HB 1301, which established a statewide presumption of equal custody for parents as a starting point. 50/50 still means child support, but a reduced amount since both have a comparable claim to being the “custodial” parent.

    • Dr.Bobby Rodriguez

      July 2, 2023 at 1:05 pm

      Well said!

  • Terry Power

    July 2, 2023 at 12:29 pm

    Bingo. The bill saves marriage in Florida.

  • Francisco Rosario

    July 3, 2023 at 2:50 pm

    Now can Florida make laws to protect our military veterans from spouses taking their pensions away and leaving the close to if not homeless? Why would an ex-spouse be awarded the veterans 20+ years of pension just because they were married 11 yrs with no children. It is an abuse of the law to take the veterans retired pay and give it to someone that has never even set foot in a recruitment office.

    • Nevada Bedwell

      July 3, 2023 at 3:09 pm

      It happens every day in Florida read what happened to me in post above.

      • I dont care

        July 9, 2023 at 12:20 am

        What county?

        • Nevada Bedwell

          July 9, 2023 at 11:29 am


  • Amazed

    July 4, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    Perhaps this will push similar bills in other states?

    • Nobody Important

      July 6, 2023 at 8:39 am

      Florida was one of the few remaining states with permanent alimony as a presumption for long term measures.

      Given Florida’s influence in the south it likely provides a tailwind for North Carolina and South Carolina to end permanent alimony in their states.

  • Patricia Noble

    July 6, 2023 at 7:27 am

    Does this bill mean that Florida now recognizes common-law marriage? How can they use it to deny alimony if the state does not recognize it?

Comments are closed.


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