Alimony / Spousal Support
Alimony is defined as support in the form of money paid from one spouse to another during and/or after a divorce. Alimony is not a given. A spouse must show need for it and that the paying spouse can pay it. The need for alimony can be established by showing that the receiving spouse won’t be able to maintain their former standard of living, even factoring in income and distribution of the marital assets. Ian C. Hurley will help ensure that you get the outcome you are looking for when it comes to alimony.
Determining Alimony Support Payments
The following factors go into a judge’s decision to determine how much alimony should be paid:
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- How long the marriage lasted
- The tax consequences of the alimony award
- The adultery of either spouse
- How old each spouse is and their physical and mental status
- Each spouses’ financial resources
- 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 spouses’ responsibilities to their minor children
- All sources of income available to either party
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.
Types of Alimony Payments
There are several types of alimony payments in Florida. The court can also decide to award no alimony, or to make an award combining different types of alimony.
- Temporary: Alimony that is paid while a divorce is pending
- Permanent Periodic: Alimony that grants payments to the receiving spouse for life, or until they remarry or live together. In order for a court to order permanent periodic alimony, one party must show that either the marriage was long term, there is a disparity in income between the parties or the recipient’s income from all sources falls below the level of need established during the time of the marriage
- Rehabilitative: Alimony that 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
- Bridge-the-Gap: 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 that is awarded as a property interest, a monetary support payment or an award to ensure equitable distribution of marital assets. There are two requirements for this kind of alimony: the award must be necessary for support or to equalize the party’s status; or unusual circumstances that require a support award that is not modifiable.
Durational: Alimony that 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.