The divorce rate in Florida is 3.4%, which represents one of the highest in the country. You likely have questions if you are considering divorce or have already filed.
One question may be about the impact or effect of alimony on your finances.
The process of calculating the alimony award you or your ex-spouse will receive is determined by the court. Most people are worried about the factors considered when determining the monthly payment amount.
At Griffin Family Law, PLLC, I understand how stressful it can be to go from a two-income household to a single-income household. For many people, alimony payments help ensure financial security for a set amount of time or indefinitely. If you have questions about alimony, how it is determined, or other related issues, I encourage you to contact my office. I can learn about your situation and help you understand your rights and options according to Florida law.
Here, you can also learn about alimony, how it is determined, and other factors that will impact what you receive or pay.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is financial support provided by one spouse to another to help them maintain the standard of living they experienced during their marriage.
Florida law allows for several types of alimony, each varying in duration, form, and amount. The duration and amount of alimony are determined based on your situation; there is no standard amount for either.
Why Is Alimony Awarded?
The purpose of alimony is to help alleviate the financial disparity between two divorcing people. When determining if alimony should be awarded and how much, family courts will examine one spouse’s need for alimony and the other spouse’s ability to pay it. For situations where permanent alimony is awarded, the payment should be enough to support the receiving spouse’s standard of living.
Some of the factors considered by Florida courts when determining alimony amounts include the following:
- Standard of living sustained during the marriage
- Marriage duration
- The age, emotional, and physical condition of both spouses
- Financial resources of each spouse
- Earning capacities, employability, vocational skills, ad educational levels of both parties
- Contribution of each party to the marriage
- Future parenting responsibilities
- Tax implications
- All income sources available to each party
- Other factors needed to ensure justice and equity between parties
Each factor impacts the amount of alimony (if any) awarded in a Florida divorce.
Types of Alimony Awarded in Florida
Five types of alimony are available in Florida. A family law judge can award any combination of these payments, which may be made in a single lump sum or periodically. The duration of payments determines the type of alimony awarded.
This is awarded during the divorce process and ends when the final judgment is issued. More about this type of alimony can be found in the case of Littlejohn v. Littlejohn.
Bridge the Gap Alimony
This alimony award is determined by considering what each spouse needs to transition to single life comfortably. It is awarded temporarily and considers the foreseeable expenses of starting life without a spouse.
The goal of rehabilitative alimony is like bridge the gap alimony. It considers the time one spouse may need to further their education or acquire employment.
In Florida, this can be awarded for short- or moderate-term marriages. The alimony is only paid for a set amount of time and cannot exceed the marriage’s duration. An example would be if a couple was married for three years. In this case, durational alimony will not last beyond three years.
Typically, this alimony is only granted for moderate- or long-term marriages. It will continue until the receiving party remarries or dies.
Can Alimony Be Ordered Without Getting Divorced
According to the law in Florida, one spouse may be ordered to pay alimony even if you do not file for divorce. Legal separation is not recognized in Florida, so alimony may be required if a couple separates. Unlike alimony ordered in a divorce, this type acknowledges that the marriage is still in place, that the paying spouse can participate in the other person’s estate, and that reconciliation may occur.
Spouses have the legal duty to support each other financially. This support may be required in cases of separation where divorce has not been filed.
Will You Have to Pay Alimony?
The process of determining alimony is unique for each case. Florida law does not establish a set mathematical formula for determining this; instead, a two-part test is used.
The first part of the test determines if the requesting party needs financial support. If the need is shown, the next step is determining if the other person can afford it.
Evidence must be shown that proves the need and ability to pay. Satisfying just one part of the test is not enough for alimony payments to be ordered.
Understanding Your Rights and Alimony in a Florida Divorce
Alimony is a huge concern in many Florida divorce cases. If you are going through a divorce and believe that you should receive alimony or that you should not have to pay it, it is recommended that you seek legal representation.
At Griffin Family Law, PLLC, we can help you gather evidence and show why you should receive alimony or not have to pay it (or the amount ordered). I will work as an advocate to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.