When a couple is divorcing, the question of spousal maintenance or “alimony” may become an issue. Florida law does allow for the payment of alimony in some circumstances. However, there are multiple types of support and numerous factors the court will consider in deciding whether to grant a request for alimony, how long it will last, and what the payment amount may be. Here is what you need to know about Florida spousal support:
Types of Florida Alimony
Florida divorce courts may grant alimony or spousal maintenance to either party. There are different types of alimony which include:
(1) Bridge-the-gap alimony, meaning the purpose is to help the newly single spouse get on their feet and adjust to life without dual incomes;
(2) Rehabilitative, which is intended to help support the individual as they pursue education or vocational training which will assist them in supporting themselves in the future;
(3) Durational, frequently used for shorter marriages, will be for a specific amount of time and will not usually exceed the length of the marriage;
(4) Permanent, which as the name implies, is alimony which is intended to last for the duration of a person's life. This kind of support is usually provided in longer-term marriages for those who cannot provide for themselves in keeping with their standard of living during the marriage; and
(5) Any combination of these forms.
What the Court Considers
The court will initially look at a party's actual need for alimony and the other party's ability to pay. It can also consider whether adultery and circumstances surrounding the infidelity in deciding to award alimony. Once the court determines that a party requires alimony support, it will then examine numerous factors to calculate the amount of payment and its duration. The court may decide ongoing monthly payments are appropriate but may also determine that a lump sum will suffice.
A significant element the court will examine is the length of the marriage. The longer a couple has been married, the more likely it is that one may have the need for support as they transition into being single. The parties’ relative economic positions, earning capacity, emotional and physical health will also usually be taken into consideration. The court is not seeking to make one person suffer and unjustly enrich the other. Instead, the evaluation of these and other critical elements will help the court in determining how to put both parties in a financially fair position after the divorce is completed.
Understanding alimony and how it may be applied to your divorce case is critical. Our office has experience with divorce and alimony and can provide you with the guidance you need. To learn more, contact Draper Law Office today at (866) 767-4711 or online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation in one of our Central Florida offices.