As an experienced alimony attorney in Florida, I understand the stress and confusion a divorce can cause. If you are in a situation where you have stayed at home to raise your family and don’t work, the financial concerns can be overwhelming. When you call my office, I will work to help you get a fair divorce settlement, which may include alimony.
Here, I discuss alimony and its application in Florida divorce cases.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is a type of financial support paid to an ex-spouse to maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to during their marriage. There are several types of alimony in Florida that vary in duration, form, and amount. The duration and amount of alimony you receive are determined on a case-by-case basis.
If you believe you should receive alimony or are working to prevent having to pay alimony, I can help. As a skilled divorce attorney, I can work to help you achieve the desired outcome for your situation.
The purpose of alimony is to help alleviate any financial disparity between two people during a divorce. When determining the amount of alimony to award, the court will consider both spouses’ financial situations. In cases where permanent alimony is awarded, the payment should be enough to support the standard of living the receiving spouse is accustomed to.
A judge will consider several factors when deciding if alimony should be awarded. When alimony is awarded, it cannot leave the person paying with less net income than the person receiving.
Permanent alimony in a Florida divorce is often a litigious and contentious aspect of the process. The main reason for this is that it will have a long-lasting impact on both parties’ financial situations. Due to alimony’s impact, it’s smart to contact me and let an experienced alimony attorney in Florida help you achieve the desired outcome for your situation.
Different Types of Alimony Awarded in a Florida Divorce
According to Florida law, there are five alimony awards a judge can use. They can combine the different types of alimony, which could be ordered to be paid in a lump sum or periodically. The types of alimony available in Florida include:
- Temporary Alimony: This is awarded during a divorce and ends when the final divorce decree is submitted.
- Bridge the Gap Alimony: With this type of alimony, a judge considers what each spouse needs for a smooth transition into single life. It is a transitional type of alimony and considers foreseeable expenses and bills of starting life alone.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: This alimony considers the amount of time one spouse may need to further their education or obtain proper employment.
- Durational Alimony: You can be awarded durational alimony for short- and moderate-term marriages. This alimony is set for a predetermined amount of time and can’t be longer than the marriage’s length.
- Permanent Alimony: Typically, permanent alimony will only be awarded for long-term marriages and continues until death or remarriage.
Receiving Alimony When Separated
According to Florida Statute 61.09, the paying spouse may be ordered to pay alimony without being divorced. This is because Florida doesn’t recognize legal separation as other states do. Because of this, alimony may still be required when a couple is separated.
Unlike receiving alimony in divorce cases, this statute acknowledges that the marriage isn’t over, the paying spouse still has a right to participate in the receiving spouse’s estate, and reconciliation may occur.
It’s necessary for spouses in Florida to financially support one another. Spousal support (another name for alimony) may be required even if a couple has separated but not filed for divorce. One spouse must support the other if this is what was established while they were married.
Divorce Eligibility in Florida
You must meet the eligibility requirements to file for divorce in Florida. This includes one spouse being a resident of Florida for at least six months before filing the divorce petition. However, there’s no residency requirement to receive durational alimony.
Also, it’s not required that the couple live apart before one person receives alimony. Additionally, there’s no requirement for the person paying alimony to be at fault for the separation. There could be personal jurisdiction issues in situations where both parties haven’t lived as a married couple in Florida. If the court doesn’t have personal jurisdiction, it won’t be compelled to pay any rehabilitative alimony.
Are You Required to Pay Alimony in Florida?
There’s no specific formula used to determine alimony in Florida. Instead, there’s a two-part test used by a judge. The first part is when the judge determines if the person requesting alimony needs financial support. If the need is proven, the next step is to see if the other person can afford to pay alimony. It’s necessary to show the need and ability to pay for alimony to be ordered.
If only one part of the test is satisfied, it won’t be enough to receive alimony. For cases where alimony is given, the payment needs to be enough to support the standard of living the receiving spouse is accustomed to.
In most divorce cases that involve alimony, factors like each spouse’s earning capacity and length of the marriage are considered. Other factors include the economic and health of each spouse, and the standard of living both parties were accustomed to while married. Sometimes, each spouse’s contributions to the marriage are considered when determining alimony.
Will Adultery Impact Alimony?
Florida law stipulates that you do not have to prove adultery or any other reason to file for divorce. It is a no-fault divorce state, and all that must be present is irreconcilable differences. Because of this, adultery will not usually be relevant to the permanent alimony determination in Florida. In some cases, the exception is if marital assets are used to further the adulterous relationship. The funds used for this may be considered a waste and then credited to the spouse who did not commit adultery.
How the Length of Your Marriage Impacts Alimony Payments
Long durational and permanent alimony awards are typically reserved for longer-term or moderate-term marriages. Short-term forms of alimony are typically reserved for short-term marriages.
Based on Florida law, the following lengths of time determine if a marriage is short-, moderate-, or long-term:
- Short-term marriages last under seven years
- Moderate-term marriages last between seven and 17 years
- Long-term marriages last over 17 years
Is It Possible to Modify a Florida Alimony Order?
It’s possible to modify an existing alimony order if there is an unexpected, material, and substantial change in circumstances that wasn’t considered when alimony was initially ordered. Alimony can be modified to be more, less, or eliminated.
Don’t Wait to Hire an Experienced Alimony Attorney in Florida
At Griffin Family Law, PLLC, I work to help clients going through all types of family issues. If you are dealing with a divorce and have questions about alimony, I would be happy to discuss your situation. The first step is to get in touch with my office and set up an initial appointment. I will work with you to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
While there are no guarantees in these cases, I have represented hundreds of clients and achieved the desired outcome. I will use my experience and resources for you and your needs.