Alimony in Florida is determined by considering two things: The amount of alimony the payee spouse needs and the ability of the paying spouse to pay. If you can prove a need for alimony and the other party’s ability to pay it, you have met the burden required for an award of Alimony.
The court will consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:
- The standard of living established
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and condition of each party
- The financial resources of each party
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties
- The contribution of each party to the marriage (ie. homemaking, child care, education, career-building of the other party, etc.)
- The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award
- All sources of income available to either party.
Duration of Alimony
If you have established the need for alimony and the other parties’ ability to pay, then the court will move on to the duration of Alimony. Important to this is the length of your marriage.
- A marriage lasting seven years or less is considered a short-term marriage.
- A marriage lasting eight to sixteen years is considered a moderate-term marriage.
- A marriage lasting seventeen years or longer is considered a long-term marriage.
There is a rebuttable presumption against an award of permanent alimony and a rebuttable presumption for an award of permanent alimony in a long-term marriage.
Different Types of Alimony
There are a few different types of Alimony in Florida.
- Pendente Lite: This allows for alimony during the legal proceedings only.
- Bridge-the-Gap: This allows alimony for a specific short duration to assist you with the transition from married life to single life and is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs. The length of the award may not exceed 2 years and is not modifiable.
- Rehabilitative: This is intended to provide assistance while you regain the ability to be self-supportive self-support. You must have a plan to include the cost of the plan and the time period needed. A good example being: if you were a nurse but let your license expire during the marriage, you would present a plan that would show how long it would take to obtain an active license again and how much that would cost you.
- Durational: This provides alimony for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration. The amount is modifiable if there is a substantial change in circumstances, the length, however, may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.
- Permanent: This allows alimony until you remarry or until the death of either party and is always modifiable with a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.
As is the case in every family law situation, the court must also consider any other factor necessary to ensure equity and justice between the parties.
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