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What Is Alimony In Florida

Contact Our Dade County Alimony And Separate Maintenance Attorneys

What is Alimony (AKA Spousal Maintenance / Spousal Support)?

Our South Florida spousal support and alimony attorneys are experienced in offering our clients legal advice on whether alimony may be awarded in their divorce case, as well as calculating how much alimony may be paid and for how long.

Contact our Miami alimony attorneys at 305-222-7351 e-mail us to schedule an appointment to discuss your Dade County, Broward County or Monroe County alimony issue. Our Miami alimony lawyers accept family law cases in Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Monroe County.

Consultations are available in Miami and at several meeting locations throughout Dade and Broward Counties including Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Galiano Street in Coral Gables, West Country Club Drive in Aventura, Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood and in the Homestead area. Appointments are also available by telephone and via Skype internet video chat.

What Are The Types Of Alimony In Florida

Alimony can come in a variety of forms. They include:

  • Permanent alimony: This type of alimony involves indefinite payments. Permanent alimony payments typically dont stop until the recipient spouse remarries or one of the spouses dies. A court may award permanent alimony to allow a spouse to maintain their quality of life after a divorce.
  • Durational alimony: With durational alimony, the court determines an appropriate length of time for one ex to make alimony payments to another.
  • Bridge-the-gap: Adjusting to life after divorce can be a struggle. A person may not be able to adapt to their new lifestyle right away. Bridge-the-gap alimony is short-term alimony that helps a person transition from marriage to singleness and financial independence. The maximum length of bridge-the-gap alimony is two years.
  • Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative alimony is similar to bridge-the-gap alimony. It helps someone remain financially secure while they take steps to reestablish their earning potential. This type of alimony is only available with a rehabilitative plan.

Florida courts may require a spouse to make a lump-sum payment or periodic payments as part of an alimony order. Sometimes, they determine that both are necessary.

Who Pays Spousal Support In Florida

Florida courts consider many factors when determining which spouse, if any, has to pay spousal support and how much they have to pay. Some of those factors include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The spouses standard of living during the marriage
  • Whether a spouse gave up certain opportunities for the sake of the marriage
  • The spouses health
  • Whether there was abuse or domestic violence.

The spouses lawyers make arguments regarding these factors and other factors that are relevant to the spousal support issue. In the end, it is up to the judge to determine a spousal support situation that is fair to the spouses.

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End Your Failing Marriage Asap

End your marriage asap. Thats off even for a divorce attorney to write.

But your goal is to fight alimony and not have support. Realize the basic rule of alimony in Florida divorce: The longer you have been married the longer youll have to pay alimony when you divorce.

Thats because Florida law determines alimony types based on how long the parties have been married.

If youve been married for just a couple of years you have a short-term marriage. Alimony may not even be appropriate at all.

If youve been married for 7-17 years you are in a medium-term marriage. Alimony for a term of years might absolutely be appropriate and probably is if you have big income differences.

And on the scale of things, every year additional your married increases the length of time youll pay alimony. Not to mention, every year your spouse is financially dependent on you will make it that much harder for her to find her footing in the workforce later after divorce. And Judges know it.

If you know divorce is inevitable, get divorced.

What Type Of Alimony Is Appropriate

Alimony In Florida

Once it has been determined that an alimony award is appropriate, the court must next determine what sort of alimony ought to be awarded under the circumstances. Florida law allows courts to award five different types of alimony:

  • Temporary alimony: Temporary alimony is awarded to one spouse during the pendency of a divorce. Typically, one ex-spouse requests the court enter a temporary alimony award at the time he or she files for divorce. Temporary alimony automatically ends when a court enters final divorce orders at that time, the court may order another type of alimony be paid.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: Where one ex-spouse has the potential to resume a career or begin a profession in order to provide for him- or herself, he or she might request rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony is meant to allow the receiving ex-spouse obtain job-related education or training so as to assist him or her in providing for his or her own needs. The ex-spouse wanting rehabilitative alimony must submit a detailed plan to the court explaining how much rehabilitative alimony is needed, what expenses are to be covered by the alimony, and how long it will take to complete the education or training. Rehabilitative alimony can end whenever the plan is completed or if the receiving ex-spouse is not compliant with the proposed plan.

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Florida Divorce Laws Alimony

When it comes to Florida divorce laws alimony, sometimes you must consider permanent alimony. Permanent alimony is for long-duration marriages if the statutory criteria are met, or for moderate duration marriages if appropriate based on clear and convincing evidence after consideration of statutory factors. It is also for short duration marriage upon written findings of exceptional circumstances. In the award of permanent alimony the court must make findings that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable.

How Do Florida Courts Calculate Alimony Payments

In order to calculate the correct alimony on a case-by-case basis, the court will look at the monthly income compared to the expenses of the party requesting alimony to determine if there are insufficient funds to meet their needs.

If the court finds that one party has a need for alimony and that the other party is able to pay it, then the court will determine which type and amount of alimony they will receive. There are several factors that help determine the best-suited alimony for each person, including :

  • Standard of living established during marriage
  • Duration of marriage
  • Current age of each person
  • Physical and emotional condition of each person
  • Financial resources of each party, including nonmarital and marital assets and liabilities
  • Earning capacities, education level and vocational skills of both parties
  • Time necessary for either person to acquire sufficient education or training to be able to find appropriate employment if necessary
  • Time spent out of the job market
  • Tax consequences related to alimony
  • All sources of income for each person
  • The number and ages of any children
  • The court may order the person that is paying the alimony to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy to secure the alimony award. This will be determined after the type of alimony is decided on, and if the court finds it necessary.

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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.

    Factors In Spousal Support / Alimony Determinations

    Florida House subcommittee approves alimony reform bill

    The court will take various factors into consideration when determining an alimony award. These factors are:

  • The parties’ prior standard of living
  • Length of the marriage
  • Physical and emotional condition of both spouses
  • Financial resources of each spouse
  • Income-earning capacity of each spouse
  • Income-producing capacity of the assets each spouse receives
  • The time necessary to acquire education or training for appropriate employment
  • Services rendered by homemaking, child rearing and education and career building of the other spouse.
  • Also, although Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to divorces, the spouses’ fault, or lack thereof, may be assessed or factored into the court’s decision when awarding alimony.

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    Child Support Vs Alimony

    Some ex-spouses may be dismayed to learn that the court can order one spouse to pay alimony and child support, assuming that the divorcing couple has children. The obligor spouse may feel this is inappropriate since his or her ex-spouse is essentially being paid twice. It must be remembered, though, that child support are payments that are made to help pay for the costs of raising children , whereas alimony is for the benefit of the receiving spouse. Because each type of support is meant for a different person, a court is free to award both types of support.

    Remember, though, that while child support must be awarded in any divorce case in which there is at least one minor child, an alimony award is discretionary and a court has the freedom to award alimony in an amount it feels appropriate based upon the facts and factors before the court.

    Divorce In Florida Alimony

    Florida divorce alimony laws provide for certain provisions that the parties can agree to. Note that the parties can agree that alimony will be non-modifiable. Such a provision must be clearly stated in a Florida Marital Settlement Agreement for example. There is a downside however to making alimony non-modifiable. For example, let’s say a party agrees to pay their spouse a certain amount of money for a specific period of time. And after the payments begin the paying spouse loses their job and their income is either gone or reduced. They would still be obligated to pay the alimony under the original terms because it was non-modifiable. And if the receiving party’s financial need increases subsequent to the commencement of payments, they would not have the ability to ask for an increase in alimony because it was non-modifiable. Sometimes it’s wise for the payor to insist for example that if their spouse gets remarried, that alimony ceases. A provision to make alimony non-modifiable should state for example that it is non-modifiable as to amount and duration, and in every other regard, for any reason whatsoever.

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    What Are The Tax Effects Of Alimony

    After the judge rules in favor of the alimony, both the dependent and the supporting spouse will have to consider the tax consequences that may relate to their situation for tax purposes. The tax levied on the alimony depends whether the alimony payments are on a weekly or monthly basis.

    For instance, if an alimony court orders payment of $20,000 in alimony in a single payout, the payment will not be taxable. However, if the judges rule in favor of a monthly alimony of $500, then this figure will be subject to taxation.

    If spouses decide to go for alimony as part of their divorce, they will need to, therefore, consult a tax or financial advisor.

    Bridge The Gap Alimony

    Alimony In Florida

    Bridge the gap alimony is very similar to rehabilitative alimony. Bridge the gap alimony is typically ordered to help a spouse cover living expenses while looking for a job. If a spouse does not have to go back to school, they may not require as much support however, if they do not currently have a job, they will need some support until they can find one. Bridge the gap alimony might be in order to cover the living expenses of another spouse until he or she can find full-time employment.

    Similar to rehabilitative alimony, this type of alimony typically goes away when the spouse finds a full-time job. At that time, the alimony will either be converted to a different type of alimony, reduced, or removed entirely.

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    Prove Your Spouses Real Need For Alimony

    Why would you take the effort to prove up your spouses need when she would otherwise need to do so in court?

    Because Judges mean well. But they can only do as good as the information that is provided to them.

    If youre in the middle of a divorce case already you know that spouses almost always over inflate their budgetary needs on financial affidavits. Sometimes this is intentionally done to try to inflate an alimony award. Often its simply because the other spouse does not know their true needs and is erroring on the side of caution.

    Regardless, over-inflated financial affidavits can lead to a Judge ordering more alimony than what is truly needed.

    If you and your spouse have traditionally lived a modest lifestyle and instead chosen to save money then consider proving your spouse actually need.

    This is usually done via an accountant or divorce financial analyst. You could also do the homework yourself. The problem with that is in contested divorce cases your spouse will probably not trust your work. At least that is our experience.

    The beauty of proving a real need is that the numbers are the numbers. They provide an objective way to discuss alimony.

    If your spouse is able to adequately contribute to their own needs then proving the actual need could result in your spouse dropping her alimony claim. In other cases, it can protect you from a runaway alimony award by the Judge.

    An Overview Of Alimony Payments In Florida

    The first type of payment that may be involved is called alimony. Importantly, alimony is not child support. Instead, alimony is a payment that one spouse pays to the other spouse to compensate for a financial need and that the paying spouse has the ability to pay. There are multiple types of alimony payments, which include:

    In some situations, the spouses can agree on the amount of alimony and duration. In other situations, each spouse will present his or her side of the story in court and let the court decide. There are also situations where lawyers can negotiate on behalf of each spouse and come to an agreement. It might also be helpful to consult with a trained accountant before making decisions regarding alimony payments.

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    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.

    Factors Affecting Alimony Awards

    Alimony: What You Need To Know About it In Florida

    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.

    Also Check: Can You Get Alimony After 5 Years Of Marriage

    How Long Do Alimony Payments Last In Florida

    Are you getting a divorce in Florida? The court may order you or your spouse to pay alimony. Courts often order alimony if one spouse will be unable to support themselves after a divorce.

    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.

    Work Out An Agreement With Your Spouse

    While obvious, consider trying to work out an divorce agreement with your spouse before beginning a divorce process.

    Ideally, you have a prenuptial agreement that protects you in place. If not you may be eligible to work out a postnuptial agreement with your spouse.

    A postnuptial agreement is a contract signed after marriage that spells out issues like alimony that would be triggered by a future divorce.

    Florida Judges love contracts. If you and your spouse sign a prenuptial agreement that passes legal muster then your alimony issue can be decided in advance. In a way that fits your alimony goals.

    Even if your divorce is already filed you still can work out an agreement with your spouse. Usually, a simple kitchen table discussion at the beginning of the case will let you know if you can work out a beneficial alimony agreement.

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