Who gets alimony in Florida and why?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a court-ordered payment made by one spouse to another after a divorce or separation. The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse, and to help maintain the lifestyle they had during the marriage. In Florida, there are several factors that determine who gets alimony and how much they receive.
Florida law recognizes several different types of alimony, including bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony, and permanent alimony. Each type of alimony serves a different purpose and has its own set of criteria.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to help a spouse transition from being married to being single. It is generally awarded for a short period of time, not to exceed two years. This type of alimony cannot be modified once it has been awarded.
Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to help a spouse become self-sufficient after a divorce. It is generally awarded for a specific period of time, during which the receiving spouse is expected to acquire the education or training necessary to become self-supporting.
Durational alimony is awarded for a set period of time, and is generally awarded in cases where the marriage was of moderate duration (between seven and seventeen years). The length of the award cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
Permanent alimony is awarded in cases where the marriage was of long duration (over seventeen years) and where one spouse is unable to become self-supporting. Permanent alimony may be awarded for the remainder of the receiving spouse’s life, or until they remarry or pass away.
When determining whether to award alimony and what type of alimony to award, Florida courts consider several factors. These factors include:
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The age and physical and emotional condition of each spouse
- The financial resources of each spouse
- The earning capacity, educational level, and employability of each spouse
- The contribution of each spouse to the marriage (including homemaking and child-rearing)
- Any other factor that the court considers relevant
In addition to these factors, Florida law also requires that a court make specific findings of fact to support an award of alimony. These findings must include the specific factual basis for the amount and duration of the award.
It is important to note that Florida law does not presume that alimony should be awarded in every divorce case. Instead, the receiving spouse must demonstrate a need for financial support, and the paying spouse must have the ability to pay.
When determining the amount of alimony to be awarded, Florida courts consider several factors, including the receiving spouse’s need, the paying spouse’s ability to pay, and the standard of living established during the marriage. The court may also consider any other factor that it deems relevant.
It is also important to note that alimony can be modified or terminated in certain circumstances. For example, if the receiving spouse remarries, the alimony award may be terminated. Similarly, if there is a substantial change in circumstances, such as a significant increase or decrease in income, the court may modify the alimony award.
In conclusion, Florida law recognizes several different types of alimony, each with its own criteria and purpose. When determining whether to award alimony and what type of alimony to award, Florida courts consider several factors, including the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, and the financial resources of each spouse. Alimony can be modified or terminated in certain circumstances, such as if the receiving spouse remarries or if there is a substantial change in circumstances. It is important to consult with a qualified attorney if you are facing a divorce and are seeking or opposing an award of alimony.
Michael DeVoe is a divorce attorney in Orlando, Florida practicing contested divorce, uncontested divorce, timesharing, visitation, custody, paternity, child support, injunctions, and other family law cases.