If you are considering Florida divorce, you are likely concerned about whether you are entitled to alimony, or whether you will be required to pay alimony.
Judges do not usually apply a strict formula to determine alimony, but rather make decisions based on an individual situation following guidelines set by Florida statute.
Florida Statute §61.08 allows a Florida judge to award alimony in certain circumstances. Whether alimony will or will not be awarded generally depends on the length of the marriage and the relative income of each spouse. The spouse who earns more money may be required to pay alimony to pay for the needs of the other spouse.
A judge will consider the following factors when determining alimony payments:
Alimony is not intended to punish one spouse or the other but is a recognition that one spouse may have more skills or resources than the other. Alimony payments will level the playing field for a period of time until the other spouse can support him or herself.
Length of marriage is often the most critical factor in determining alimony.
Alimony payments generally will not last longer than the duration of the marriage
Florida also recognizes different types of alimony.
Rehabilitative alimony is of short duration and is designed to allow the recipient to obtain some education or training for a limited period of time.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is also of short duration and is designed to assist the other spouse to get back on his or her feet and live independently.
Durational alimony is for a set period of time after a marriage of short or moderate duration.
Permanent alimony is typically awarded after a long-term marriage and continues until the death of either party or the remarriage of the recipient.
When making a decision on alimony, the court can also consider:
Alimony can be awarded as a lump sum, as monthly payments, or a combination of the two. Except for rehabilitative alimony, alimony payments end when the spouse receiving alimony re-marries, or when one of the spouses dies.
Alimony payments are often withheld from a paycheck but can also be paid directly to Support Enforcement. Failure to pay alimony can result in a suspension of driving privileges, although limited work privileges are often allowed.
The court can also modify alimony payments if one spouse or the other can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances. To be successful, the change in circumstances must be one that was not anticipated at the time of the original award, and one that is likely to continue.
In deciding to modify alimony payments, the court will consider:
To protect yourself, your future, and your assets, you need an experienced Florida divorce attorney who knows how to properly ask the court for the relief you need. Consult the qualified Jacksonville divorce lawyers at Elrod & Elrod today to explore your options in seeking alimony or in defending against a claim for alimony. Call 904-356-1282, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete our online form.