Ten Facts about Alimony in Florida
Ten Facts about Alimony in Florida: When deciding whether to award one spouse alimony, the court will consider a myriad of factors.
Standard of Living
The court will review all sources of income, joint and separate property, and all other financial resources to get an understanding of what type of financial lifestyle the couple was accustomed to during marriage.
To determine someone’s ability to make money, the court might look at his age, physical and emotional condition, and employability. For example, any education or skills that can help him obtain a job.
Contribution to the Marriage
For this factor, the court will consider each spouse’s role, financial or otherwise. Was one spouse a homemaker while the other worked and supported them financially? Was one spouse the primary caregiver for any children they had?
Length of Marriage
Often the most important factor to consider is the duration of the marriage. A short-term marriage is a marriage less than 7 years. Moderate-term is more 7, but less than 17 years. And long-term is a marriage that lasted more than 17 years.
After considering all these factors, the court will decide which type of alimony is appropriate, if any.
Under Florida law, there are five types of possible alimony: temporary, permanent, durational, rehabilitative, and bridge-the-gap.
This type of alimony is awarded during the divorce process to help the receiving spouse with cost of living for a short time until the divorce becomes final.
If a judge finds that the receiving spouse is unable to support himself in the foreseeable future due to certain limitations, he may qualify for long-term spousal support. However, it is highly unlikely that a short-term or moderate-term marriage would result in permanent alimony.
This support lasts for a limited amount of time, more specifically, for the duration of the marriage. With this type of alimony, if a couple was married for 12 years, the receiving spouse may get support for a maximum of 12 years.
This type of support is designated for a specific purpose, such as for educational or vocational training to assist the receiving spouse with becoming self-sufficient.
This type of alimony begins after the marriage ends and lasts for up to two years. The purpose is to give the receiving spouse time to do something to improve their financial circumstance, such as sell their house or finish school.
How to Stop Payments
Some people who are required to pay alimony may wonder when and if they can stop making payments to their ex.
After a determination is made for what type of support a spouse will get, either spouse can petition the court to modify or terminate any type of alimony, except bridge-the-gap, which is not modifiable under any circumstance.
Permanent and durational alimony will automatically terminate upon the death of either spouse, or if the receiving spouse remarries.
But if there is a substantial change in financial circumstances for either party, then rehabilitative, permanent, and durational alimony can be modified.
For example, if at any point, the receiving spouse is in what the court deems a supportive relationship, where he is living with someone and they share assets or own a home together, but aren’t legally married, the court could constitute this as enough reason to end or reduce the alimony payments.
When in doubt, it is always a good idea to talk to your attorney regarding any lingering questions you have about alimony.