Alimony, also known as spousal support, is monetary support paid from one spouse to another, either during or after divorce proceedings. Alimony may be applicable when one spouse has stayed out of the workforce during the marriage in order to raise the couple’s children, or otherwise contribute to the household; if a spouse is disabled during the marriage; if earnings abilities are vastly different after a lengthy marriage, or to simply assist a spouse in moving on with their life following a marriage. There are numerous forms of alimony allowed by Florida Statute that may be applicable to your marriage. Alimony claims are often the most difficult battles faced in a family law case. Please call or email the attorneys of Morgan & Barbary to discuss your claim.
Determining Whether Alimony will be Awarded
Alimony payments are not a part of every divorce decree. In order for a judge to award alimony payments to a spouse, that spouse must show that there is a need for alimony and that the paying spouse has the ability to make the alimony payments. A spouse can prove that there is a need by showing that he or she will not be able to achieve his or her former standard of living after considering income, as well as any proceeds from the equitable distribution of the marital assets.
Have Questions About Alimony?
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The Determining Factors of Alimony Amount
Once a judge decides that alimony payments are appropriate under Florida law, the judge will consider the following factors when determining the amount of alimony:
- The age, earning ability, health and education of the person seeking alimony
- The other assets that will be available to both parties after the divorce
- The length of the marriage and standard of living during the marriage
- The ability of the potential paying party to make the payments
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The tax consequences of the alimony award;
- The adultery of either spouse;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age, as well as physical and emotional condition of the parties;
- The financial resources of the parties;
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, employability of the parties, and the time necessary to acquire education or training;
- Each party’s contribution to the marriage including financial support and services;
- Each party’s responsibilities with the minor children; and
- All sources of income available to either party.
Types of Alimony Payments in Florida
There are several types of alimony payments in Florida. It is within the court’s discretion to award no alimony, or to make an award combining different categories of alimony. The following are the types of alimony which may be awarded in Florida:
— Temporary alimony is paid while a divorce is pending.
— This type of alimony grants payments to the receiving spouse for life, or until the receiving party remarries or cohabitates. In order for a court to order permanent periodic alimony, one party must show: (1) that the marriage was long term; (2) a disparity in income between the parties; and (3) the recipient’s income from all sources falls below the level of need established during the time of the marriage.
— This kind of alimony provides the recipient with resources to ultimately become self-sufficient by developing skills or assisting them in acquiring training, education, or professional experience. To receive rehabilitative alimony, the recipient must establish a specific rehabilitative plan that shows the court how the party plans to use the alimony to become self-sufficient.
— Generally awarded in short-term marriages, bridge-the-gap alimony only lasts a relatively short time and is designed to allow the recipient to adjust to single life. It is awarded for a maximum of two years.
— Lump sum alimony is awarded as (1) a property interest; (2) a monetary support payment; or (3) an award to ensure an equitable distribution of marital assets. There are two requirements for this kind of alimony: (1) that the award is necessary for support or to equalize the party’s status; or (2) unusual circumstances that would require a support award that is not modifiable.
— Durational alimony is awarded in short or moderate term marriages to provide the recipient with financial assistance during a predefined time period. Though the level of durational alimony can be changed or terminated, the length cannot be modified unless exceptional circumstances are present. The length of the award may not be greater than the length of the marriage.
Under Florida law, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short term marriage is less than 7 years, a moderate term marriage is longer than 7 years but less than 17 years, and a long term marriage is more than 17 years.