Alimony in Florida: What to Expect in a Divorce

Alimony in Florida: What to Expect in a Divorce

After a divorce, many people are forced to continue financially supporting their now ex-spouse through alimony. Alimony allows divorced spouses to continue with the standard of living they enjoyed while they were married. If one person earns significantly more than the other, the court could order that person to pay one of the various types of alimony.

Alimony is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Under Florida law, there are four types of alimony available after a divorce. There are many factors that go into determining the monthly amount as well as the length of time the alimony will go on.

If you are divorcing in Florida, what can you expect? Will you be able to receive alimony, or will you be forced to pay it? If alimony is a factor in your divorce, how long will it go on? Read on to learn about the alimony laws in Florida.

Florida Law

Under Florida Statutes Section 61.08, the court has the option to grant alimony to either party. The alimony may be granted periodically, in a lump sum, or both. Adultery may be a factor when considering who gets alimony and how much.

However, not every divorce results in alimony. The court will look at the couple’s income and whether one person has a need for alimony as well as whether the other party can afford it. If there is a need and the other party has the ability to pay, the court then needs to determine the type of alimony as well as the amount.

Types of Alimony

Florida offers six types of alimony – rehabilitative, bridge-the-gap, lump sum, temporary, durational, and permanent. Rehabilitative alimony may last several years. It provides income to the recipient spouse so he or she can get back on their feet following divorce. This type of alimony is often given to spouses who may have been stay-at-home parents and now need to go back to school or find gainful employment so they can earn income and support themselves financially.

Bridge-the-gap alimony tends to be short-term in nature. It is meant to pay for temporary costs associated with a divorce. It helps a person transition from married life to single life by covering costs such as housing, food, utilities, and transportation.

Lump sum alimony is a little different in which an agreed-upon amount is paid by one spouse. That spouse can pay the recipient in a lump sum or in installments. This amount is set in stone and cannot be modified.

Temporary alimony is used solely to keep the bills paid while the divorce case is in process. Once the divorce has been finalized, these alimony payments cease.

Durational alimony was enacted into Florida law in 2010. This type of alimony serves as an alternative to permanent alimony. It is awarded for a set period of time. This period, however, cannot last longer than the marriage itself. Therefore, a person married for five years would not have to pay alimony beyond five years.

Florida is just one of seven states that offer permanent alimony after a divorce. The other six states are Oregon, Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina, Vermont, and West Virginia. As the name implies, permanent alimony lasts forever. It will end only if either spouse dies or the recipient spouse remarries.

Factors That Affect Alimony

There are many factors that affect which type of alimony a person gets and the length of time. The court will consider many criteria, including the standard of living during the marriage. This means that if a person was accustomed to a life of luxury, then they may receive alimony from the other spouse so they can continue with that standard of living. The length of the marriage is also a factor, since if a couple was married for many decades, that would mean higher amounts of alimony for a longer period of time.

The age and health of each party also plays a role. If a person is retired or disabled and on a fixed income, they may not be forced to pay alimony to the other party. The financial resources of each party also needs to be considered. If both parties earn roughly the same amount of money, then there may be no need for alimony.

The contributions of each party also play a role in alimony. A woman who quit her job to take care of children and serve as a homemaker may require more alimony so she can acquire the skills to join the workforce following a divorce. A person’s responsibilities after a divorce need to be considered, as well. A mother with sole custody of the children will need more financial resources to care for those children. This may result in more alimony or at least more child support.

Seek Legal Help

Any divorce in Florida can lead to a lifetime of alimony. While this may be great for the recipient, this is not good news for the person who has to continue with this obligation until the day he or she or the other spouse dies. This leads to a lot of animosity and contention.

If you are ending your marriage in Florida, seek legal help to understand your options. There are several types of alimony available and you or your spouse may be entitled to it. Palm Beach divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can answer your questions about alimony and other financial issues in a divorce. To schedule a consultation, call his office today at (954) 346-6464.