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Florida Women's Law Group

Guide To Alimony In Florida

Author: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Jun 07 2021

Guide to Alimony in Florida

One of the most contentious issues in divorce is alimony.  At Florida Women’s Law Group it is what we are asked about most frequently.  Alimony is defined as financial support that the higher-earning spouse must legally provide to the other spouse during the divorce proceedings or once it has been finalized.  The intention is to allow the lower-earning spouse the ability to maintain the same standard of living as they experienced in the marriage.

Alimony is decided on by the judge on a case-by-case basis.  The judge looks at several factors and determine the amount and duration of alimony.  Child support is different than alimony and is awarded separately during divorce proceeding.  Alimony is designated for supporting the less financially stable spouse.  In courts, a short-term marriage is considered to be less than 7 years, a middle-term marriage is 7-17 years and long-term is over 17 years.

Types of Alimony

In Florida there are five types of alimony that a judge may award to a deserving spouse.  There are many factors that go into determining the type, duration and amount of alimony.  We will go into depth about each one in later blog posts but for now these are the types of alimony in Florida:

  • Temporary Alimony – The higher earning spouse provides financial support to the other spouse during the divorce proceedings. This is awarded once the divorce is filed and ends with the final divorce judgement.

  • Bridge-the-Gap Alimony – This form of alimony is to help the lower-earning spouse transition from being to single life. Designed for those who have legitimate needs for the short-term such as buying a house or deposits on an apartment.  Bridge-the Gap alimony cannot exceed two years and the amount and duration cannot be modified.  If either spouse were to pass away or the receiving spouse were to remarry then the alimony is terminated.

  • Rehabilitative Alimony – If one spouse stopped working of pursuing an education to benefit the family they may be entitled to rehabilitative alimony. This helps the receiving spouse become financially independent by obtaining education or training to reenter the workforce.  A spouse seeking this form of alimony must submit a detailed and defined plan for rehabilitation.  If there are substantial changes in circumstances the amount and duration can be modified.  If the receiver is not following the plan or completed the plan then alimony will be terminated.

  • Durational Alimony – Most commonly awarded in short or middle-length marriages. Designed to assist the lower-earning spouse financially for a set period of time.  In most cases, the length of the alimony payments cannot be longer than the length of the marriage.  Amount and length can be modified in exceptional circumstances.  It is terminated upon death of either spouse or if receiving spouse remarries.

  • Permanent Alimony – Permanent alimony is awarded in long-term marriages and if the receiver lacks the ability to provide financially for themselves. It is only awarded if no other type of alimony is fair and reasonable and can provide the receiver with the standard of living they experienced while married.  Permanent alimony is required for life and is for the spouse who has been out of the workforce for the majority of the marriage and would not be able to maintain the same lifestyle on their own.  This can also be awarded if the spouse is disabled or needs extensive medical care and is unable to work.  Like other forms of alimony it is terminated if one spouse passes away or if receiving spouse remarries.  It can also be modified if there are substantial changes to circumstances.

Factors to Determine Alimony

In awarding alimony, a judge considers several factors to determine the type, length and duration.  Alimony is designed to alleviate the financials differences between the spouses and for each to maintain the same standard of living.  Factors for alimony are:

  • Length of the marriage
  • The legitimate financial needs of the requesting spouse
  • The income available to each spouse and the other’s ability to pay
  • Each spouse’s earning ability and employability
  • Parenting responsibilities and contributions during marriage
  • Lifestyle during the marriage
  • How long requesting spouse has been out of workforce
  • Mental and physical health of each spouse

Infidelity During Marriage

Unfortunately, many marriages end because of infidelity.  We are often asked how a cheating husband affects alimony.  Florida is a no-fault state which means that there does not have to be a proven reason to file for divorce.  Because of this, infidelity is not relevant in determining alimony.  However, if significant marital funds were used to support the affair then that may be considered by the judge and that amount awarded to the other spouse.

Alimony can be complicated, do not try to navigate these complex waters alone. Trust the experienced team of attorneys at Florida Women’s Law Group. We are committed to providing you a positive experience all while seamlessly handling the meticulous details.

 

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