Alimony is a type of monetary support that is provided to a spouse who may be considered in need of extra income after the divorce. A divorce is a life changing experience, and knowing the amount of spousal support or alimony a client will receive or need to provide is of paramount importance in planning for the future. Valdes Law Firm, P.A. can help you understand what you can expect when alimony is an issue and can help you negotiate the amount of alimony that you will pay or receive. If you live in Broward, Miami-Dade, or Palm Beach County and you need advice concerning alimony, contact our office online or by phone at (954) 764-7878 to schedule a free initial consultation. Hablamos español.
Alimony is governed by Florida Statutes section 61.08. Unlike child support, alimony is not based on a mathematical formula. Rather, it is decided on a case-by-case basis. In determining whether to award alimony, the court must first make a specific factual determination as to whether either party has an actual need for alimony and whether either party has the ability to pay alimony. If the court finds that a party has a need for alimony and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony, then in determining the proper type and amount of alimony, the court will consider many factors, including, but not limited to:
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- Each spouse's income;
- Each spouse’s earning potential;
- Each spouse’s financial needs;
- Health of each spouse;
- Age of each spouse;
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party; and
- The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
The court may also consider any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
The duration of the marriage oftentimes is one of the most important factors in determining whether alimony will be awarded and the amount. For purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and a long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or grater. The length of a marriage is calculated from the date of the marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.Types of Alimony
There are four types of alimony that the court may award: (1) bridge-the-gap alimony; (2) rehabilitative alimony; (3) durational alimony; and (4) permanent alimony.
Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to allow a party to make the transition from being married to being single. It is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, and the length of the award may not exceed two years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable in amount or duration.
Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through either: (1) the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or (2) the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials. In order for the court to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan which will be included as a part of any order awarding rehabilitative alimony. An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the rehabilitative plan.
Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. The amount of an award of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances. However, the length of an award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.
Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration, following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate based upon clear and convincing evidence after consideration of certain factors, or following a marriage of short duration if there are written findings of exceptional circumstances. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award of permanent alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship.
Valdes Law Firm, P.A. can help you resolve any issues you may have involving alimony, as well as counsel you on the type and amount of alimony that you should expect to pay or receive. Contact us online or by calling (954) 764-7878 today to schedule your free initial consultation. Hablamos español.