Alimony/Spousal Support

Will I Have to Pay Alimony?

Will I Have To Pay Alimony?

Because alimony is based upon the premise that marriage is a partnership, Florida Courts view that the termination of the marital partnership may require the shifting of a certain amount of income from one party to another.

The purpose of alimony to assist the economically weaker spouse in making the transition from marriage to life as a single person by providing income to them after their divorce in Florida.

For alimony to be awarded the Court must find one party is in need of alimony while the other party has a greater ability to pay.  Unless those two tests are met, then no alimony should be awarded by the Court. Calculation of the amount of alimony can be very complex including the issue of what is the actual income of the parties and the amount of income the parties will have after the divorce.

We work extensively with our clients to make sure that the income for either party is properly reflected and calculated in every case.  Yet is should be noted that since not all marriages are the same, awards of alimony also vary.

Alimony is solely determined by each situation and is fact sensitive. Some important factors that go into alimony award calculations for a court include the following: the number of years of the marriage, the age of the parties, the educational background and employment history of the parties and the differences in the relative prosperity of the partners, also a Court will give great consideration to the responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they share and the relative educational backgrounds of the parties.

Florida law will dictate some of the Court’s actions as the Florida Legislature modified the divorce statutes to give exact definitions for what constitutes a short term, moderate term and a long term marriage.

Based upon the consideration of all of these factors and issues:

Alimony can take many forms including:

  • Permanent Period Alimony provides ongoing monthly payments until the death or remarriage of recipient.  Recent changes in the law allow modifications in cases of “cohabitation in a financially supportive relationship,” even without remarriage.
  • Durational Alimony is awarded to provide the party with financial assistance during a period of time following the marriage, and may be modified or terminated and may not be awarded for a period of time exceeding the length of the marriage.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony is alimony paid to allow the spouse to gain new educational and/or employment skills so that they can support themselves. Note however that this requires that a specific and very detailed list of expenditures be submitted to the Court for the nature, length and costs of the education or potential employment training necessary.
  • Bridge the Gap Alimony may be awarded by a Court to help a spouse for a shorter period of time so that the former partner can reestablish themselves. The new statute now specific limits the period of time that Bridge the Gap Alimony can be awarded to two years.
  • Lump-Sum Alimony may be awarded by a Court when ongoing monthly payments are not reasonable under the unique financial circumstances or are not likely to be made in a timely manner.