Since most marriages combine finances, the end of a marriage may raise questions about 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 significantly greater portion of the income or one spouse may have given up their income to stay home and take care of the children and household. If one spouse has little or no means of financial support, he or she might need financial support after the marriage ends. In Florida, this financial support is referred to as spousal support and is more commonly known as alimony.
Florida Law defines 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 must balance one spouse’s financial need with the other spouse’s ability to pay. Sometimes, one spouse may try to hide income to avoid paying the other spouse alimony. That is why it is important to have an experienced and aggressive attorney fighting in your corner.
There of several 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 purpose is to maintain the standard of living set during the marriage. Permanent alimony normally only applies in long term marriages, defined by Florida Law as 17 years or longer. Permanent alimony continues until death or remarriage of the party receiving the alimony.
• Rehabilitative Alimony is temporary alimony awarded to help a party establish the ability to support themselves after the marriage. Typically 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 trying 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 seeks 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 cannot exceed 2 years and is most common in mid-length marriages.
• Temporary Alimony is alimony awarded 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 regarding 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.
Despite differences in the parties’ income, alimony is not guaranteed. The court looks at several factors when determining 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.