In some divorce cases, alimony can be awarded to a former spouse that is in need of spousal support if the paying spouse has the ability to pay. Alimony is considered after equitable distribution. The court may grant alimony to either spouse. The requesting spouse must demonstrate a need for alimony and the ability of the other spouse to pay alimony.
The need and ability to pay are developed through the discovery process. Each party to a divorce has an ongoing discovery obligation and the right to obtain information about the opposing spouse’s income, assets, debts and relative financial circumstance.
Florida divorce law provides for rebuttable presumptions concerning the length of the marriage for purposes of determining alimony. A short-term marriage is a marriage of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage lasting greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and a long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater. The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
The divorce court will analyze the relevant factors to determine the proper type, duration and amount of alimony. There are four (4) types of alimony.
“Bridge-the-gap” alimony is to assist the receiving spouse transition from being married to being single and addresses short-term needs. There are limits as to the length and conditions of a bridge-the-gap alimony award.
“Rehabilitative” alimony is awarded to assist a spouse in establishing self-support through education, training or work experience to develop employment skills or credentials. Rehabilitative alimony requires a specific rehabilitative plan that places expectations upon the alimony recipient.
“Durational” alimony is when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate and lasts for a determined period of time following a short or moderate term marriage or a long term marriage when there is no ongoing need for permanent support. There are limitations as to the period of time and modifications of an award of durational alimony.
“Permanent” alimony provides for the needs and to some extent the lifestyle established during the marriage. The recipient should lack the financial ability to meet the necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. There are limits as to when a court awards permanent periodic alimony.
There is no formula and every case is unique unto itself. Everyone has rights and should know them and use them. To hire a divorce and alimony attorney, please click, call or fill out the form. We will ensure there are no conflicts and charge a consultation fee prior to meeting with a lawyer.