Alimony for Financial Support in a Divorce
rechel & associates, p.a.
Alimony for Financial Support in a Divorce
Alimony or Spousal support is designed to help provide you or your spouse with financial support after the conclusion of a marriage where one spouse has a need for support, and the other spouse has the financial ability to offer support.
In 2010, the Florida Legislature drastically revised Florida’s Alimony and Spousal Support laws, found in Florida Statutes §61.08. The Legislature specifically targeted the types of alimony provided in our state to better define which types you or your spouse may qualify for in the case of a divorce.
Types of Alimony or Spousal Support:
- Bridge-the-gap Alimony: may be awarded to assist a spouse by providing short term support to allow him/her to make a transition from being married to being single. This type of alimony is designed to assist a you or your spouse with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, not to exceed two (2) years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable in amount or duration once the judge has ordered it.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: may be awarded to assist you or your spouse in establishing the capacity for self-support through either: (1) the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or (2) the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials. In order for the court to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan. This type of an award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the rehabilitative plan.
- Durational Alimony: The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a spouse with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either person or upon the remarriage of the person receiving alimony. The amount of an award of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances. However, the length of an award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.
- Permanent Alimony: may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during your marriage for a spouse who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following the divorce. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration, following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the factors listed above, or following a marriage of short duration if there are exceptional circumstances. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony. An award of this type of alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship involving the receiving spouse.
Determining Factors for Alimony during a Divorce
Before the judge can determine what type of alimony to award (if any), the court must determine whether or not either party has an actual need for alimony and subsequently, whether the other party has the ability to pay alimony. This is accomplished through a thorough evaluation of both parties’ finances as demonstrated by their financial affidavits, financial records and the arguments of their divorce attorneys.
If the court determines that you or your spouse has the requisite need for alimony, and the other party has the ability to pay said alimony, the judge in your case will then consider the following factors in determining what type and how much alimony is proper:
- The standard of living established during the marriage (how lavish or modest the parties lifestyle was during their intact marriage).
- The length of the marriage ( typically a short term marriage is a marriage of seven (7) years or less; a moderate duration marriage is longer than seven (7) years, but fewer than seventeen (17) years; and a long term marriage is greater than seventeen (17) years in length).
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of you or your spouse.
- The financial resources of each spouse, including the non-marital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of you or your spouse and, when applicable, the time necessary for either of you to acquire sufficient education or training to enable you or your spouse to find appropriate employment.
- The contribution of each spouse to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other spouse.
- The responsibilities each spouse will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
- The tax treatment and consequences to both spouses of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.
- All sources of income available to either you or your spouse, including income available to either spouse through investments of any asset held by that person.
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
If you are getting divorced, the alimony determination made by the judge can have a significant impact on your financial future. Our experienced attorneys can help you get a fair ruling that works for all parties involved. Contact Rechel & Associates, P.A. today to get started with expert help.