Am I Entitled to Alimony in Florida?

November 19, 2020

Alimony—financial support from one ex-spouse to the other, so they can maintain their standard of living—is a way to make a divorce financially equal. Each case is judged on its own merits, but the following overview should give you an idea if your case will qualify.

Types of alimony available

Alimony is more complicated than a single definition can cover. It’s why there are five different types of alimony in Florida. Here’s a brief overview of them, ordered from shortest to longest-term.

Temporary. This type of alimony is awarded while the divorce case is ongoing, and ends when the judgment is final. Other alimony may be granted as part of the final judgment.
“Bridge the gap.” This is a stopgap solution that helps a spouse transition from marriage to single life.

Rehabilitative. Like bridge the gap alimony, this type is awarded when a spouse needs to finish school or until they find a job.

Durational. Durational alimony is for spouses who were married for what the court considers a short or moderate time. It doesn’t exceed the length of the marriage itself—if you were married five years, you only get five years of durational alimony.

Permanent. Sometimes one spouse has sacrificed income and employment history for the marriage. This type is granted after moderate (7-17 years) to long-term (more than 17 years) marriages. It ends only when one ex-spouse dies or the person receiving alimony remarries.

What affects alimony payments?

There’s a two-part test to determine if and how much alimony applies to your case. First, you must demonstrate a need for financial support. Second, the other party must have the ability to pay alimony.

The judge looks at a number of different factors when determining alimony. For example, the couple’s income level, education, standard of living and contributions during the marriage may play into the amount. Although Florida is a no-fault divorce state, if one spouse used marital funds to carry on an affair, that may play into the final judgment.

Modifying alimony

What if you were ordered to pay alimony and lost your job, or took a pay cut? Alimony can be modified, often due to a change in financial circumstances. The court will evaluate whether there has been a “substantial, material, and unexpected change” in the paying spouse’s circumstances. Don’t quit your CEO position for a minimum wage McDonald’s job to avoid alimony—voluntary income reductions don’t qualify.

In addition to financial issues, alimony can also be modified or end when the ex-spouse dies or remarries. Things get murkier when your ex-spouse enters into a financially supported—but not legally married—relationship. If you suspect that’s the case, the best thing you can do is to consult with an alimony attorney in Tavares, FL.

When you need a zealous, compassionate family law attorney, call K. J. Law P.A. for a consultation.

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