Alimony in Florida- Everything you need to know.
Alimony derives it’s name from a Scottish word for maintenance/spousal support, “aliment”. Every state has differing laws on Alimony. This article will be referencing Florida Alimony or: Florida Statute 61.08 which you can find here.
There are four types of Alimony that can be awarded in the state of Florida.
1. Durational Alimony: Which is support ordered when both parties are separated prior to the divorce. This may be awarded when permanent alimony is not appropriate. The length of time cannot exceed the length of the marriage. Duration alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances.
2. Rehabilitative Alimony: This is granted to a spouse who earns less than the other for a period of time necessary for them to acquire work and become self-sufficient. The two factors that qualify for Rehabilitative Alimony are: 1. redevelopment of previous skills or credentials. 2. The acquisition of education, training or work experience necessary to build appropriate employment credentials or skills.
In order for Rehabilitative Alimony to be awarded, there needs to be a specific and defined plan. Rehabilitative Alimony can be terminated in accordance with 61.14 based on a substantial change of circumstances, the party failing to follow the plan, or upon completion of the plan.
3. Permanent Alimony: This Alimony is paid until the death of the one paying, or remarriage of the recipient.
4. Bridge the Gap: This is a reimbursement of expenses incurred by spouse during marriage. A good example of Bridge the Gap is educational expenses. This is designed to assist in reasonable and easily identifiable short term needs. The length of this award in the state of Florida may not exceed 2 years. This amount terminates upon the death of the payer or the remarriage of the payee.
Payment method may be lump sum, periodic, or both.
Alimony Qualifiers in Florida
Does either party need Alimony?
The court will determine whether there is an actual need for alimony or maintenance based on the facts .
Does the other party have the ability to pay Alimony?
If there is a need for alimony, the court will determine whether or not the other party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance.
Alimony factors the courts consider in Florida
-The standard of living established during the marriage.
-Length of the marriage.
- 7 years or less is considered a short-term marriage.
- Greater than 7 years but less than 17 years is considered a moderate-term marriage.
- 17 years or greater is considered a long-term marriage.
-The age, physical and emotional condition of the couple.
-The assets and financial resources of each party including their liabilities.
-The education, earning capacity, vocational skills, and employment opportunities of each party.
-If applicable, any necessary time or educational needs required to reach adequate employment opportunities.
-The services rendered to the marriage. Including: homemaking, child care, career building and education.
-The ongoing responsibilities both parties will have to the children.
-The tax consequences and treatment to both parties including designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable nondeductible payment.
-All sources of income available to both parties.
-Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
-The payer may be asked to take out a life insurance policy or bond in order to guarantee the alimony amount will be paid.
Length of separation period during marriage is not a factor in the state of Florida
Alimony can be a confusing and complicated factor in a divorce. Although the above information can be helpful, a good attorney is invaluable when handling these matters. If you have questions about whether you qualify for alimony payments or not you should contact a lawyer.