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What does Flors v. Flors mean?
If you were married over 20 years and signed a divorce agreement before March 1, 2012, which is the date of the new alimony statute, your obligation to start alimony payments after 2012 will not be guided by the new statute and its durational limitations. The old law will apply to your case.
This means, that, for divorces that occurred before 2012 in which the marriages were over 20 years, the 2012 alimony statute will not be used to automatically terminate your alimony obligation at full social security retirement age. The Appeals Court made this clear in the recent Flors case, in which the husband paid only child support prior to 2012. The divorce agreement acknowledged that the wife waived her right to past and present alimony, but reserved her right to seek future alimony. The wife in Flors did not seek alimony until 2016, which was well past the start of the new alimony law in 2012.
One could assume that since alimony started after the date of the 2012 alimony law, then the limitations imposed by this law would apply to any new legal actions that took place after this law became effective in 2012. However, the Appeals Court in Flors carved out an exception for marriages over 20 years in which the divorce occurred prior to the 2012 alimony law, because even though the Wife had not been receiving alimony prior to 2012, she reserved her right to receive it in the future. The Appeals Court suggested that Wife negotiated the delay in alimony with the expectation that she could seek it in the future and be paid for an indefinite period of time, which was the law at the time of her divorce.
Therefore, under this Appeals Court analysis, Wife’s right to receive alimony after 2012 is for an indefinite period of time and will not automatically terminate upon the payor/husband reaching full social security retirement age, which has been the alimony law since 2012. To be clear, those who had marriages over 20 years when they divorced prior to March 1, 2012 are obligated to pay alimony for an indefinite period of time. Whereas those who were married over 20 years but who divorced after March 1, 2012 will be able to terminate their alimony obligation at full social security retirement age.
Clearly, timing is everything.