Alimony / Spousal Support
Since most marriages join together finances, the end of a marriage may raise questions concerning how the parties will support themselves after marriage. In some marriages both spouses work and earn similar income, in other marriages one spouse may earn a much greater portion of the income or one spouse may have given up their income to remain at home and care for the children and household. In the event that one spouse has little or no means of financial support, he or she may need financial support after the marriage ends. In Florida, this financial support is also known as spousal support and is more commonly known as alimony.
Florida Law characterizes spousal support as payments from one spouse to the other on a temporary or permanent basis. Its purpose is for each spouse to live in the life style they enjoyed during the marriage. Florida courts have to balance one spouse’s financial need with the other spouse’s ability to pay. At times, one spouse may attempt to hide income to abstain from paying the other spouse alimony. That is why it is essential to have an experienced and aggressive attorney fighting for your rights.
There of different types of alimony that may be awarded in Florida depending on the specific circumstances of each divorce.
- Permanent Periodic Alimony is a required monthly payment from one party to the other. Its intention is to maintain the standard of living set during the marriage. Permanent alimony usually only applies in long term marriages, characterized by Florida Law as 17 years or longer. Permanent alimony continues until death or remarriage of the party getting the alimony.
- Rehabilitative Alimony is temporary alimony given to help a party establish the ability to support themselves after the marriage. Usually it applies to a party that gave up a career or education to stay home and raise the children. Rehabilitative alimony gives a party financial support while they are attempting to redevelop skills or professional licenses, gain new education, or develop new skills and training. The party seeking alimony must show the court a specific plan on how the party plans to redevelop or retain these new skills. Rehabilitative alimony is more typically awarded in mid-length.
- Bridge-the-Gap Alimony is temporary alimony awarded to one party to help them adjust from married life to single life. Bridge-the-gap alimony can’t surpass 2 years and is most common in mid-length marriages.
- Temporary Alimony is alimony granted to one spouse pending divorce proceedings and until a final judgment dissolving the marriage can be made. It is meant to be temporary until a permanent decision in regards to alimony can be made, either by the parties or the court.
- Lump Sum Alimony is a one-time payment made from one party to the other. It can be as spousal support or a way to equalize asset distribution.
Regardless of differences in the parties’ income, alimony is not guaranteed. The court looks at several factors when deciding on spousal support including, the length of the marriage, the age, health and education of both parties, the assets available to each spouse and the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. Winston Law, P.A. can help fight for your spousal support rights.