Alimony, also known as spousal support is awarded in certain dissolution of marriage (divorce) cases. The legal foundation for alimony is found in Florida Statute.
When a husband and wife are getting divorced, the courts will typically look to some common standards to determine whether or not alimony will even be awarded, how much it should be, and for how long. The primary consideration are need and ability to pay. The Judge will also look at the standard of living during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, the age and physical and emotional condition of the parties, the financial resources of the parties, the non-marital and marital assets and liabilities distributed to each party, the time needed acquire education or training, or to be come gainfully employed (if applicable), the contribution of both the husband and the wife to the marriage, ie homemaking, contributions to the other party’s career or education, and care for the children, available sources of income, and any other factor the court deems relevant and appropriate to achieve equity and justice. Also just because one spouse chooses not to work, that does not mean they get a free ride. The court can do whats called “impute income” on a party which means they can take into account what the person is able to earn.
There are different types of alimony: permanent, durational, bridge-the-Gap, rehabilitative, lump sum, or temporary. The type of alimony awarded depends on the facts of each individual case. Note: Florida Statutes state that “the award of alimony may not leave the payor with significantly less income than the net income of the recipient unless there are written findings of exceptional circumstances.” Florida Statutes §61.08(9).
Common Questions Regarding Alimony
Who is entitled to Alimony?
Either party to the divorce can be awarded alimony if the court deems appropriate. The longer the marriage was, the morel likely it is that a party will be entitled to alimony, if true need can be shown.
How much will be paid and for how long?
There is no set time. The amount and length will be determined by the financial resources available to the paying party and the need of the recipient spouse. The length of time will be depend on the type of alimony, i.e. permanent, durational, bridge-the-Gap, rehabilitative, lump sum, or temporary.
Can Alimony be stopped or modified?
Sometimes. To modify or terminate alimony, there must be a “substantial change in circumstance” of one or both parties, death of one party, remarriage of the party receiving alimony, or upon showing proof of a supportive relationship of the receiver.
What is considered a “long term” or “short term” marriage?
The law says there is a “rebuttable presumption” that a Short-term marriage is less than 7 years, a moderate-term is between 7 and 17 years, and a long-term is 17 years or greater. The statute says the term begins at the date of the marriage and ends at the date of filing.