Factors Affecting Alimony Awards
Once the court reviews everything and comes up with an order declaring that alimony is appropriate, talks about the type and the possible amount of alimony will follow. The Florida statutes provide a list of factors that serve as a guide when determining an alimony amount that is considered fair and appropriate.
How Our Family Lawyer Can Help You
If you have a dispute over spousal support in your divorce, call me to schedule a consultation, on the phone or at our office, to discuss your case: divorce attorney Eduardo J. Mejias, of AAA Family Law at 600-2614. We can represent you in family law cases through mediation, trial and, if necessary, in any appeals to the any of the Florida District Courts of Appeals.
During the consultation we will listen to you and assess how we can help you with a plan to achieve your objectives. The assessment will be realistic and based on the experience of hundreds of family law cases. We will not give you a rosy picture of what we can do for you to entice you to sign up with us. And you will know what our fixed retainer fee will be before you pay or sign any contract.
The first thirty-minutes of consultation, by phone or at our office, are free and each additional thirty minutes are charged at $100.
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These are the ranges of retainer fees charged by AAA Family Law for the type of case mentioned on this page. The actual amount depends on the degree of complexity of the case.
Contested Divorce Up To Mediation: $2,400 to $3,600. If there is a trial, an additional retainer amount of $2,000 to $4,000 is due. There is also an amount of $420 payable to the court.
Read Attorney Retainer Fees and Court Costs for all the trial attorney retainer fee ranges and the court costs).
How Long Does Bridge
The exact duration of bridge-the-gap alimony will vary from case to case, depending on the receiving spouse’s financial needs and circumstances. However, as is stated in Florida Statute § 61.08, “Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, and the length of an award may not exceed 2 years.” During this period, the receiving spouse is expected to take steps to become self-reliant, whether by finding a job, completing a degree, undergoing vocational training, or otherwise.
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Palm Beach County Alimony Lawyer
If you need obtaining support from your spouse during the divorce process contact the knowledgeable lawyers of Quality Family Law.
For your convenience, our family law division attorneys have an office located in West Palm Beach, FL to help you with your legal matters. We serve the North Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Wellington, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Springs, and Boynton Beach areas. Call Quality Family Law at
Multiple Types Of Alimony Available In Florida
Florida provides five types of alimony: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent. Couples can negotiate the terms of the alimony award, including the type, duration, and amount of support. However, if you can’t agree, the judge will evaluate your circumstances and decide for you.
Temporary support is available to a needy spouse during the divorce proceedings. Before the court orders support, the requesting spouse must demonstrate a need for support and that the other spouse has the ability to pay. Temporary support will help the lower-earning spouse remain financially stable during the lengthy divorce process and ends when the judge finalizes the divorce.
Florida is one of few states that offer bridge-the-gap alimony, which helps the recipient spouse meet legitimate short-term needs while transitioning from married to single. For example, the needy spouse may use the support to pay bills while waiting for the marital home to sell, or to meet other living expenses while attempting to find full-time work after the divorce. Bridge-the-gap support can’t exceed two years and terminates if the paying spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries. .)
Florida is one of few states that offer bridge-the-gap alimony, which helps the recipient spouse meet legitimate short-term needs while transitioning from married to single.
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Qualifying For Alimony In Florida
Contrary to popular belief, alimony isn’t only available to women. Either spouse can request support, and the court will evaluate whether the requesting spouse needs help and whether the other spouse can pay. If the court finds the “need and ability” the judge will then assess the following factors:
- the standard of living established during the marriage
- the length of the marriage
- each spouse’s age and physical and emotional health
- both spouse’s financial resources, including the nonmarital and assets, and liabilities
- each spouse’s earning capacity, educational level, vocational skills, and employability and, if applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to find employment
- both spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including homemaking, childcare, education, and career-building of the other spouse
- whether either spouse will have parental responsibilities to minor children
- tax consequences of alimony, if any, to both spouses
- all sources of income to both spouses, including income available through investments, and
- any other factor the court deems necessary to create a fair alimony award.
Florida courts may also consider whether either spouse committed adultery during the marriage and how the affair impacted the couple’s marital funds. For example, if one spouse cheated and paid for an apartment, living expenses, or trips with a girlfriend or boyfriend, the court may factor in the spending when calculating alimony.
What Florida Law Says About Bridge
Bridge-the-gap alimony can be awarded in a divorce if the initial order was entered after July 1, 2010, the effective date of the law . There are some very specific rules about bridge-the-gap alimony.
According to Florida statute 61.08, the section of the law that specifically authorizes this type of spousal support, it is designed to help an individual with “legitimate, identifiable short-term needs.” As such, the statute limits the amount of time bridge-the-gap alimony can be awarded for two years.
The spouse receiving bridge-the-gap alimony in Florida must have been unable, despite their best efforts, to provide for the essentials of their transition to single life. A spouse seeking this bridge-the-gap alimony must be prepared to present competent, substantial evidence of what those needs are. Awards of bridge-the-gap alimony have been reversed on appeal when the evidence showed that the amount of an award exceeded legitimate need. Significant awards have also been upheld on appeal when there has been sufficient evidence to support the amount of the award. The threshold test for awarding bridge-the-gap alimony in Florida, in addition to need, is the ability of the other party to pay.
Once awarded, bridge-the-gap alimony awards cannot be modified, either in amount or duration of the award. However, this type of support does terminate upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the party receiving the support.
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Can You Modify Your Alimony In Florida
Yes! There are several circumstances that will allow you to petition for alimony modification in Florida:
- Substantial, permanent change in one spouses income
- Loss of a child
Determining whether an instance qualifies you for modification of alimony is a nuanced process, and we highly recommend contacting a Tampa divorce attorney to help you out.
Contact us now to hire a dedicated team of Tampa lawyers who will fight for what you deserve.
Circumstances Considered In Setting The Amount And Duration Of Alimony
Regardless of the type of alimony that a family court judge awards, in determining its amount, it must first consider the ten enumerated factors contained in Section 61.08, Florida Statutes. The Florida District Courts of Appeal have distilled these ten factors into the following three essential considerations of the circumstances of the of the litigants that affect the amount and duration of any alimony.
The length of the marriage, with longer marriages resulting in longer periods of payment,
the recipient’s financial need,
the obligors ability to pay it.
A divorcing spouse must keep in mind that both financial need and ability to pay must be established before any payment is awarded. A family court judge will never award a former spouse a monthly payment amount that exceeds his or her proven monthly need. Also, The Florida District Courts of Appeal have repeatedly declared that alimony is not designed to equalize the post-divorce incomes of the spouses.
Finally, the standard of living established during the marriage, while relevant, is not the guiding principle behind fashioning an award for spousal support. Many of my divorce clients seemed surprised when I explained these principles to them.
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AAA Family Law
283 Cranes Roost Blvd., Suite 111
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AAA Family Law is located in Altamonte Springs and serves clients throughout the Orlando Metro Area including, but not limited to, the following cities and unincorporated areas, by county: Orange County: Apopka, Bay Lake, Maitland, Ocoee, Orlando, Union Park, Winter Garden, and Winter Park Seminole County: Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Lake Mary, Longwood, Oviedo, Sanford, and Winter Springs Volusia County: Daytona Beach, DeBary, DeLand, Deltona, and Orange City Lake County: Clermont, Leesburg, and Mount Dora Osceola County: Buena Ventura Lakes, Celebration, and Kissimmee Orange, Lake, Osceola, and Polk Counties: Four Corners Orange and Seminole Counties: Goldenrod.
Modifying Or Terminating Alimony
Unless the couple agrees in writing, that neither will ask the court to review alimony, either spouse can request a modification if there is a significant change in circumstances since the last support order. However, bridge-the-gap alimony is non-modifiable. Additionally, courts may modify the amount of durational support but not the length.
If the supported spouse doesn’t comply with the rehabilitative alimony plan while receiving support, the paying spouse can ask the court to modify or terminate the award later.
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Who Pays Alimony In Florida
All family law and divorce cases are unique. However, the spouse who earns the most money is typically the one who must pay alimony payments to the other spouse.
Other factors a court will consider when deciding whether alimony is necessary:
- Access to additional financial support
- Education level
- Earning capacity
- Whether either spouse committed adultery
To maximize your chances of achieving a fair outcome in your alimony case, you should hire a qualified divorce attorney.
How Long Do Alimony Payments Last In Florida
You may wonder how long alimony payments last. The answer: it depends. Courts account for a number of factors when deciding the length of alimony payments.
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Do I Have To Pay Alimony In Florida
When determining an alimony award, there is no specific mathematical formula under Florida divorce law. Instead, the judge will apply a two-part test based on the details of each case. The first part of the test determines whether or not the party requesting alimony needs financial support. If a need is proven, the next step is to determine if the other party can pay alimony. Both the need and ability to pay must be shown with evidence. Satisfying only one part of the test will not be sufficient to receive alimony. If alimony is awarded, the alimony payment should be enough to support the spouses standard of living.
Typically, the most important factors are the length of the marriage and the income earning capacity of each spouse. Reeves v. Reeves. The standard of living experienced during the marriage and the health and economic positions of each spouse will also be factors. The judge may also consider the contributions each spouse made during the marriage. See Florida Statute 61.08.
Child Support And Alimony
Most paying parties look at child support and alimony as the same thing. However, the court looks at these things separately.
Alimony is the obligation a paying spouse needs to fulfill to their ex-spouse to help them get back on their feet. On the other hand, child support is the amount involved in raising a child. This covers food expenses, clothes, and other essential things a child needs to grow. If children are involved, courts can order child support and alimony simultaneously.
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Florida Bridge The Gap Alimony Video
Bridge the gap alimony in Florida is one of several types of alimony a Florida court may award to the party that is judged to be in need of financial support during the pendency of the divorce, and in the immediate aftermath of dissolution. Florida Alimony Statute 61.08 and its subsection Five, states that Florida bridge the gap alimony is designed to help the party in need transition from married life to being single or alone and without the support system that being married provided. If you need to speak with an Orlando alimony attorney to determine your rights and responsibilities, call 407-335-8113 to speak with a family law attorney today about your divorce involving alimony.
Bridge the gap alimony in Florida may be structured to provide for designation needs that are for the here and now, that is to say, the needs of the receiving party must be short term and not with the intent of being permanent or long-lasting. Whenever a Florida Statute states what something is, it also provides insight into what it is not. Here, the alimony award is designed to help a payee during a period of transition. When does bridge the gap alimony end? Ask a divorce attorney in Orlando.
Does The Length Of Marriage Affect Alimony
Permanent alimony or long durational alimony awards are usually reserved for long-term or moderate-term marriages. Generally, short-term marriages are only eligible for short-term forms of alimony. Under Florida law, a short-term marriage is a marriage lasting less than seven years. A moderate-term marriage is classified as a marriage lasting between 7 and 17 years. A marriage lasting longer than 17 years is considered a long-term marriage. See Fichtel v. Fichtel.
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Alimony In Florida Guide: Divorce & Family Law
Alimony is financial support provided to an ex-spouse to help maintain the standard of living maintained during the marriage. There are many different types of alimony in Florida, which vary in amount, form, and duration. The amount and duration of alimony in Florida are determined on a case-by-case basis. If you are seeking alimony in Florida or trying to prevent paying alimony, contact a divorce law firm in Tampa for help. A skilled Tampa divorce lawyer can make a big difference in if and how much alimony is awarded. Nobody likes paying for an attorney, but in some cases, it can save a lot of money in the long run.
The policy behind alimony is to alleviate the financial disparity between the two parties. When determining alimony that should be awarded, Florida family law courts look at one spouses ability to pay vs. the other spouses need for alimony. If permanent alimony is awarded, the alimony payment should be sufficient to support the spouses standard of living.
There are many factors that a judge may consider when determining alimony in Florida is appropriate. If alimony is appropriate, the court will have to determine the durational alimony amount to bridge the gap. Regardless, alimony may not leave the person paying alimony with significantly less net income than the recipients net income.
Experienced Divorce Attorneys Protecting Your Rights
There are several different types ofalimony that can be awarded to either spouse while they go through a divorce. Often, the facts of the case do not warrant an award ofpermanent alimony nor would it be appropriate to establish a rehabilitative plan. In certain cases, a spouse only needs assistance in making the transition from married life to single life. In this instance, Florida divorce law provides an alimony option called “bridge the gap” alimony.
Bridge the gap alimony is designed to provide support to a spouse for a shortened duration in order to ease the transition between married life and single life. Bridge the gap alimony typically is only extended for a brief duration, is defined in duration, and ends on a specific date. It is often appropriate for short term marriages and where the respective need for short term alimony can be established as well as the other spouse’s ability to pay.
In the event the parties to a divorce are able to select and agree upon an appropriate form of alimony, then they may be able to take advantage of a collaborative divorce. By working together, the parties have the ability to make a cost effective decision while still providing the needed support for a spouse. When selecting this option, the parties consciously remove the stress of litigating alimony which allows the divorce process to move quickly to resolution.
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Types Of Alimony In Florida
Under Florida divorce law, there are five types of award alimony. A judge may award any combination of these types of alimony payments, which may be made periodically or in one lump sum. The types of awarding alimony are determined by how long the payments will last.