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Alimony

Spousal Support in Florida


Florda Alimony and Spousal Support Attorney

Alimony is monetary support paid from one spouse to another, either during or after divorce proceedings, or both. In the event the parties cannot reach an agreement as to an award of alimony, the Court will be tasked with reviewing the parties’ respective financial positions and assessing evidence to determine if one spouse should be awarded alimony, and if so, the type, duration, and amount of alimony.

Alimony payments are not part of every divorce decree. In Florida, alimony is determined by the needs of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay alimony. The spouse seeking support must demonstrate an actual need for alimony before the court will determine the other spouse’s ability to pay alimony. This is done by the parties filing and exchanging their respective financial affidavits detailing their income, monthly expenses, assets, and liabilities. Once the need and ability to pay has been established, the judge uses his or her discretion in determining the amount of the alimony to be awarded. Although there is not a formula or mathematical calculation used to determine the exact amount of spousal support to be awarded, Section 61.08, Florida Statutes, provides the following factors the Court must consider in determining a proper award of spousal support, if any:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The adultery of either spouse and the circumstances associated therewith
  • The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party
  • The financial resources of each party, the non-marital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each
  • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education and career building of the other party
  • The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common
  • The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award
  • All sources of income available to either party

TYPES OF ALIMONY / SPOUSAL SUPPORT

There are several different types of alimony or spousal support the Court may award. Based upon the facts of each case, the Court may in its discretion award no alimony, or award one or more of the following types of alimony:

  • Temporary alimony is paid during the pendency of the divorce.
  • Bridge-the-gap Alimony may be awarded in short-term marriages. This type of alimony is designed to assist a party in making the transition from being married to single. The length of an award of bridge-the-gap alimony may not exceed a period of two years, and is non-modifiable in amount or duration.
  • The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to provide a spouse with the opportunity to become self-supporting by getting the necessary education and skills needed; this can include vocational school, college, and otherwise.
  • Durational alimony is awarded in short or moderate term marriages to provide the recipient with financial assistance during a predefined time period. Though the amount of alimony may be changed or terminated, the length of an award cannot be modified unless exceptional circumstances are present; however, in no event may the duration of the award be greater than the length of the marriage.
  • Permanent periodic alimony grants payments to the receiving spouse for life, or until he or she remarries, cohabitates or facts otherwise exist for a modification of the award. In order for the Court to award a party permanent periodic alimony, it must consider: 1) the duration of the marriage; and, 2) the disparity in income that exists between the parties; 3) the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage; and, 4) whether all income available to the spouse seeking financial support falls below the level necessary to maintain a same or similar life established during the marriage.
  • Lump sum alimony, as its name suggests, is a one-time alimony payment in the form of money or property. Lump sum alimony is awarded as: 1) a property interest; 2) a monetary support payment; or, 3) an award to ensure an equitable distribution. Lump sum alimony is awarded when special circumstances exist that make period payments inappropriate.

TERMINATING OR MODIFYING ALIMONY / SPOUSAL SUPPORT

In certain cases, an award of alimony may be modified or terminated. Factors for modifying or terminating alimony or spousal support can include remarriage, cohabitation, securing gainful employment, or other events affecting the dependent spouse’s ability to support him or herself.


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  • Waterhouse Law firm, P.A.
    51 3rd Street, Bldg. 8
    Shalimar, FL 32579
  • 850.424.1651
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