Alimony–Do I have to Pay and if so, How Much?
Few life experiences are as financially burdensome as divorce. During a marriage, a couple usually shares their financial resources to cover household expenses and the cost of living. After a divorce, each person will have to find a way to take care of their financial needs on their own. However, in some cases, one spouse may be ordered to pay alimony or spousal maintenance to the other. Those who contemplate the possibility of paying alimony often want to their likelihood of having to pay and, if so, the expected amount. Here is what you need to know:
Alimony in Florida
In Florida, there are several different types of alimony. In some cases, temporary alimony, or support while the divorce is pending may be ordered. There is also “Bridge the Gap” alimony which is intended to last for a short period after divorce and is typically no longer than 2 years. Rehabilitative alimony is support for a spouse as they work towards becoming self-sufficient through education or vocational training. There is also Lump Sum alimony which can be paid all at once or in installments, and permanent periodic alimony which offered following a long-term marriage and is meant to be for those who cannot return to work. Finally, there is Durational alimony serves the same purpose as permanent periodic alimony but is for marriages which lasted less than 17 years and cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
Florida courts may or may not order alimony, but it is possible when one spouse will be at a significant economic disadvantage following the divorce and requires support to maintain their standard of living. There is not a set formula which will determine exactly how long a person may be required to make alimony payments or how much the payments will be. These orders are based on a variety of factors, and because each case is unique, orders will be the same. In many instances, the court will focus on the length of the marriage and if one spouse stayed home to raise children while the other attended school and advanced in their career. The longer the marriage and the more one spouse’s actions supported the other’s earning capacity, the more likely a court is to make an award.
When considering temporary assistance, the court will set a finite start date and end date for alimony payments. For example, the court may schedule the maintenance to be paid for a particular number of years or perhaps until the receiving spouse has completed vocational training or his or her degree. To modify alimony, the obligated spouse may return to court to request that their payments be lowered or eliminated if financial circumstances change. Changes such as an involuntary job loss or reduction in pay, reasonable retirement age, or disability may warrant modification. There are also life circumstances such as the receiving spouse’s death or remarriage which will end an alimony obligation.
We have experience helping clients assess their possibility of paying alimony and the amount of their potential payments. Contact us online or at 866-767-4711 today to set up your free, no-obligation consultation in one of our two locations: Kissimmee, and Orlando.