Overview of Alimony in Florida
During the dissolution of a marriage, the court may order one spouse to pay a certain amount of money as support to the other spouse each month. This is known as alimony or spousal support. Alimony can be described as a court-ordered provision by a spouse to their estranged spouse during or after a divorce.
Types of Alimony
There are several types of alimony available in Florida, including:
Temporary alimony is awarded to a spouse to help with daily expenses and attorney fees during the divorce proceedings. Temporary spousal support generally stops once the divorce is finalized.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is made by one spouse to the other spouse to help the recipient spouse meet reasonable short-term needs while transitioning from married to single.
Rehabilitative alimony is paid by one spouse to help the other spouse become self-supporting. Payments for rehabilitative alimony will continue until the recipient spouse acquires additional job skills, gets a college degree, education, or finds a new job.
Durational alimony is similar to rehabilitative support. With this type of alimony, the court will set a time limit for payments so that the spouse in need can get financial help for a specified period after the divorce.
Permanent alimony is an ongoing monthly payment made by one spouse to the recipient spouse on a regular or recurring basis. This type of spousal support may continue indefinitely until remarriage or death.
Who is Entitled to Spousal Support?
The aim of spousal support is to limit any unfair economic effects of a divorce or legal separation by providing a continuous income to a spouse earning lower or no wages. Usually, the court orders the higher-wage-earning spouse to pay support to the lower-wage-earning spouse. Thus, helping him or her maintain the marital lifestyle for some period of time after the divorce, or while transitioning from divorce to single.
What Determines Type, Amount, and Duration of Alimony?
The following factors will be used to determine the type, amount, and duration of spousal support:
- The duration of the marriage
- The standard of living that was established during the marriage
- The age, mental, and physical condition of the spouses
- The financial resources of each spouse, including marital and non-marital assets and liability
- The couple’s earning capacity, vocational skills, and educational levels
- The current employment status of each spouse
- The time required for the requesting spouse to acquire additional job training, education, or vocational skill to enable them to secure proper employment or become self-supporting
Changes to Current Alimony Agreement
Under Florida laws, either spouse can request a modification of the existing alimony agreement if there is a significant “change in circumstances” since the initial alimony order was made. However, bridge-the-gap alimony is non-modifiable. Some reasons that may prompt you to change a current alimony agreement include:
- The paying spouse has a significant drop in income
- The receiving spouse no longer needs it
- New marriage
- The receiving spouse is not making any reasonable effort to become self-supporting
How Legal Counsel Can Help
Divorce and spousal support cases are usually complex and fiercely contested. If you are preparing for a divorce, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable alimony attorney immediately to get proper legal guidance on spousal support arrangements.
At Fournier Law, we understand that the spousal support process is emotional, and every case is unique. As experienced Florida spousal support attorneys, we will provide you with the detailed guidance and advocacy you need to set up or modify alimony arrangements. Our team will help you decide the best course of action and help you navigate through the process.