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How Long Is Alimony Paid In Florida

What Are The Different Types Of Alimony In Florida

Changes to Floridas alimony law are on the table

Permanent: Permanent alimony is alimony for support until the remarriage of the payee spouse or the death of either party. Permanent alimony is always modifiable with a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.

Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative alimony is intended to provide assistance to a spouse while he or she regains the ability or establishes the capacity for self support. The party seeking rehabilitative alimony for retraining has the burden of proof as to the retraining plan, the object of rehabilitation, the cost of the plan, the period necessary to complete the plan, and how the plan is workable to make the party self supporting.

Bridge-the-Gap: Bridge-the-Gap alimony is an award for a specific short duration to assist the spouse with the transition from married life to single life and is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs. The length of the award may not exceed 2 years. The award of this type of alimony is non-modifiable.

Lump-Sum: Lump-Sum alimony is a certain sum paid at one time or installments and the court will order this type of alimony only when an award of permanent alimony is justified and the court finds special circumstances warranting a lump-sum payment such as if the paying spouse is in poor health.

Alimony may be taxable to the payee spouse and deductible by the paying spouse. Retroactive alimony may be awarded back to the date of filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

Modification And Termination Of Alimony

If a court entered an award of alimony, in most cases the court can later either modify or terminate that alimony award if there has been a substantial change of circumstance. The change of circumstance must typically be permanent, involuntary, and unanticipated by the parties at the time the alimony award was entered. Life changes such as an unexpected illness or disability, unemployment, or a remarriage can all result in an alimony award being modified or terminated.

Who Is Entitled To Alimony In Florida

The overriding legislative intent in establishing alimony law is that the State of Florida does not want to support an impecunious spouse by way of welfare, food stamps, and the like. Therefore, courts will look to the breadwinning spouse to ensure that the other spouse does not go homeless or without basic living necessities.

What this has translated to by way of laws and judicial interpretation is that there are two spouses who enjoyed a certain standard of living throughout the marriage, and, upon dissolution of that marriage, both spouses should continue to enjoy that same standard of living.

To the extent that one spouse cannot afford that established standard of living with his or her own income, the other spouse must provide supplemental income. Of course, what usually occurs upon dissolution of marriage is that the standard of living enjoyed by two people in the same household will go down when there are two households to maintain.

In determining whether to award alimony in Florida, the court will first make a determination as to need and ability to pay and then the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:

The standard of living established during the marriage

The duration of the marriage

The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party

The financial resources of each party, including the non-marital and marital assets and liabilities distributed to each

All sources of income available to either party.

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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.

Modify Alimony Based On A Change Of Income

Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS)

Alimony obligation may be modified or terminated upon the death, remarriage, or when the other spouse enters into a supportive relationship. However, the most common reason for modifying alimony is an involuntary loss of income. When determining if modification is justified, the court will consider the parties relative financial circumstances at the time of the final judgment, compared with the parties relative financial circumstances when the petition for modification was filed. See Mastromonico v. Mastromonico. Voluntary income reductions by incurring debt are usually not a valid basis for modification. See Cowie v. Cowie. Additionally, voluntary reductions in income will also not serve as a basis to reduce the amount of alimony. See Cowie v. Cowie.

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How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Alimony In Florida

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 case law at Fichtel v. Fichtel.

Florida Divorce Alimony Laws

According to Florida divorce alimony laws, when a party believes that they have a need for financial assistance from the other party, alimony can be requested. As with child support, the Court can award temporary alimony until the final divorce hearing is held, at which time a final alimony amount may be ordered. An alimony determination will factor in the length of the marriage. “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 long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater.”1

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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.

Florida Divorce Law Requirement For Permanent Alimony

Tips for filing alimony in Florida

Florida applies a two-part test to determine alimony, the need & ability test. The first part of the test is to establish if there is a need for alimony. The term need does not mean basic living expenses, such as rent, food, and clothing. Instead, the term need refers to the standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage. See Griffin v. Griffin. It is important to note, need can include many things that most of us would consider luxuries. See Firestone v. Firestone. Once the need is established, the spouse will then have to prove that the other spouse can pay the alimony sought.

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How Long Will I Have To Pay Alimony

How much and How long? An initial discussion on Florida Alimony establishment and guidelines.

This article covers the basic concepts for durational, bridge the gap, and permanent alimony. For a discussion on rehabilitative alimony see that article here.

Unlike child support, Florida divorce law doesnt contain specific guidelines for alimony. This creates some confusion and frustration among practitioners and clients. A review of the history of alimony in Florida divorce Courts, as well as comparisons among recent alimony awards can help provide both clients and their attorneys with some realistic expectations and the ability to negotiate effectively.

Due to the historic gender roles relating to employment and earning capacity, Courts in the early United States were faced with the reality that following a divorce, an unsupported ex-Wife and her children were likely to become impoverished, and therefore dependent upon the state in some capacity. It was the Courts job to prevent the ex-Wife from becoming a public burden by requiring the Husband to continue to support the ex Wife until such time as she remarried or was self-supporting. This concept gave rise to alimony or spousal support.

How much?

Aside from the basic need and ability to pay, the Court is instructed to consider the following factors:

The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.

The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.

How Long?

Length Of Orlando Alimony Award

  • Permanent alimony or lifetime alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration or following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the statutory factors, or following a marriage of short duration if there are exceptional circumstances. Typically, permanent alimony is only awarded when the length of the marriage exceeds 17 years. However, there are circumstances where permanent alimony may be awarded when the duration of the marriage is less than 17 years.
  • Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The length of an award of durational alimony may not exceed the length of the marriage. Many courts will order durational alimony for a duration equal to half the length of the marriage. However, the court has discretion to award alimony for up to the full duration of the marriage. Again, the length will be determined by arguing the circumstances and statutory factors.
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to assist a party by providing support while the party transitions from being married to being single. 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.
  • Temporary alimony is paid during the duration of the case to provide temporary support while the case is ongoing. Temporary alimony does not exceed the length of the case.
  • Changes to Florida Alimony as of January 1, 2019

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    How Does Alimony Work In Florida

    The first thing one should know about alimony in Florida is that there is no mathematical calculation in determining alimony such as there is with calculating child support.

    The court has broad discretion to decide entitlement to alimony, the amount of alimony, the duration of alimony, and the type of alimony. There are, however, perimeters to which the court is bound.

    Determining Income For The Alimony Analysis:

    Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS)

    With Florida Alimony law, determining the income of the spouse paying and receiving alimony is a critical component to determining how much alimony one spouse needs, and what the other spouse is capable of paying. In a perfect world, both spouses would be employees with a long, demonstrated earnings record. In practice, however, this is rarely the case when alimony is being contested.

    This is because, in many cases, when the spouse requesting alimony has not worked in a long time, there is an issue of how much money, if any, they can or should have to earn to contribute to their own support needs. Further, in many cases where enough money is made for a spouse to stay home, the other spouse is self-employed. This often means their true cash flow available for paying alimony is different than their income reported for tax purposes.

    Under Florida Alimony Law, judges typically determine a spouses need for alimony after considering how much money the spouse could make if their employment potential is maximized. This means that if a spouse is not working, but could work, the judge will need to determine how much the spouse could earn if they were to re-enter the workforce. Similarly, if the spouse is not maximizing their education and training in their current job, a judge could determine that they are capable of earning more if presented with appropriate evidence.

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    Contact An Experienced Family Law Attorney

    You can benefit from the assistance of our experienced alimony attorneys whether you are seeking alimony or whether your ex-spouse has requested that you pay alimony. If you are in need of alimony, an we can review the facts of your case and discuss with you how best to present your situation to the court. Especially if you are asking for rehabilitative alimony, our legal team can assist you in preparing the proper documents to present your request to the court. Our consultations are free and we look forward to fighting for your rights.

    If your ex-spouse has asked the court to order you to pay alimony, it is important to discuss the case with an attorney as well. An attorney can assist you in presenting the facts of your situation as well as gathering evidence about your ex-spouses situation. Since alimony is based both on need and ability to pay, your attorney can ensure that the court considers facts related to both of these factors.

    Collecting Alimony Under Florida Law

    Not everyone is fond of giving money to their ex-spouse to sustain their way of living. This can sometimes make it hard for the receiving spouse to collect the agreed alimony amount. Fortunately, Florida alimony law offers safe and reliable methods to get what the receiving party deserves.

    Garnishment is one of the known methods for collecting alimony in Florida. It is a process where a specific amount will go directly to the ex-spouses account. A prime example of this is wage garnishment. The agreed alimony amount is taken off directly from the paying spouses salary.

    Additionally, there are cases where other forms of income, such as pensions and spendthrift trusts, could be garnished as a form of alimony payments .

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    Speak To An Experienced Lawyer Today

    There are a number of exceptions that could come into play depending on your situation, and an experienced awyer can help you navigate any potential complications that may come up. At Givens Law Group, we have helped thousands of families and individuals secure the beneficial outcome they deserve, and are committed to helping each new client we accept so they can comfortably move on to the next phase of their lives. Call us at 328-6159 to speak with one of our experienced staff members.

    How Long Does Alimony Last In Florida

    What is alimony and how is alimony determined?

    There is a rebuttable presumption against an award of permanent alimony in a short-term marriage, which is 7 years or shorter. There is a rebuttable presumption for an award of permanent alimony in a long-term marriage, which is 17 years or longer. There is no presumption for or against permanent alimony in a moderate-term marriage, which is a marriage greater than 7 years but less than 17 years. The type of alimony generally dictates the duration.

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    Can Florida Alimony Be Modified

    Under Florida divorce law, you can modify alimony in Florida if there has been a substantial, material, and unexpected change in circumstances that was not contemplated when the amount of alimony was initially set. The modification can either increase, decrease, or terminate the amount of alimony. Usually, a petition to modify permanent alimony, durational alimony, or rehabilitative alimony will have to be filed in the same court where the divorce was filed.

    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.

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    Florida Alimony: Florida Spousal Support Payments In Divorces And Requests To Change Or Modify Alimony In Florida

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    When a couple decides to divorce in Florida, one of the financial considerations will be whether or not either spouse will be entitled to financial support from the other spouse, commonly known as alimony. How much, and for how long, one ex-spouse is legally obligated to pay money to their ex-wife or ex-husband in alimony payments depends upon a variety of factors.

    State of Florida Alimony Law: Florida Alimony Statute

    Florida alimony, also known as Florida spousal support, is provided for in Florida Statutes 61.08, which provides the following:

    In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may grant alimony to either party, which alimony may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent in nature or any combination of these forms of alimony. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments or payments in lump sum or both. The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. In all dissolution actions, the court shall include findings of fact relative to the factors enumerated in subsection supporting an award or denial of alimony.

    Types of Florida Alimony

    As defined in Florida Statute 61.08, Florida has 4 types of spousal support or alimony:

    1. Bridge-the-Gap Alimony

    2. Rehabilitative Alimony

    3. Durational Alimony

    4. Permanent Alimony

    Does Everyone Have to Pay Florida Alimony? No.

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