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Beginner’s Guide to Alimony in A Florida Divorce

Beginner’s Guide to Alimony in A Florida Divorce

When you are in the process of a divorce in Florida, one of the important things to consider is alimony or spousal support for many reasons. According to Florida law, it is a critical part of divorce and can be awarded to a spouse as maintenance. Contrary to popular belief, alimony is not always a monthly payment. It can sometimes be a one-time sum or even a combination of both types of payment.

Let’s take a look at some basic things you should know about a divorce alimony in Florida.

What is Alimony?

By definition, alimony is an arrangement where the spouse with the larger income contributes to the financial support of the spouse until he/she can meet their own needs themselves. This provision is available under Florida law and is awarded by the court based on the merits of each case. Alimony can be awarded as a monthly stipend, or as a lump sum payment or an initial lump sum award and a periodic monthly payment. In some cases, the court can also award alimony that are not monetary instead of monetary payments. The payments sometimes last for a number of years or may be permanent.

Types of Alimony and their Purposes

Alimony payments are not meant to punish a spouse but are done with the knowledge that one spouse may be better off financially and is more capable of supporting the other after the marriage has ended. Alimony is a way to level the playing field between ex-spouses after the marriage ends.

Before alimony can be decided, the length of the marriage is critical. A short marriage is one that had a duration of less than seven years, marriages that lasted more than seven years but less than seventeen years is categorized as a moderate-term marriage. A marriage that lasted longer than 17 years is categorized as a long-term marriage. Working with a reputable family law practice in Altamonte Springs will give you an idea of what your alimony should be before heading to court.

Here are the different types of alimony that a court can award based on the merits and circumstances of the divorce case

1. Bridge-the-gap Alimony

This is alimony that is awarded to the receiving spouse to help make the shift from being married to being single. It is normally awarded to cover short-term expenses which sometimes can be specified by the court. In most cases, the needs must be identified and quantified both in financial cost and the duration. Bridge-the-gap alimony can be used for rent, setting up a new house, paying utility bills or buying a new car.

It usually is paid for a short period of two years or less and cannot be modified even when the receiving spouse’s conditions change. Once it has been awarded, the paying spouse cannot appeal the decision. Be sure to consult with your family law practice in Altamonte Springs during negotiations so that you can push for alimony that is commensurate to your needs.

2. Rehabilitative Alimony

This type of alimony is granted to an ex-spouse who wants to either attend college or learn a new vocation towards gainful employment and eventual independence. Before a court will grant a spouse rehabilitative alimony, a clear plan will be available so that it can be monitored over time. This type of alimony can also be modified by either party, both the paying spouse and the receiving spouse should there be reason for the plan to deviate or something significant changes in their circumstances.

For example, if the receiving spouse secures a scholarship to pay the tuition, the paying spouse can appeal to have the amount exempted from the alimony plan. Another example is if the receiving spouse needs to spend more time or cost in acquiring the skills or degree that were agreed, he/she can appeal for a change of the alimony plan.

3. Durational Alimony

The purpose of durational alimony is to help the recipient spouse to be financially comfortable for a fixed amount of time. It is like permanent alimony but the difference is that it is limited to an amount of time. It is usually applied when other types of alimony may not be appropriate. It is also typically used to settle short or moderate term marriages. The duration of the alimony can also not surpass the duration of the marriage.

In the event there are changes in the condition of either spouse, there can be an amendment but only to the amount of money being paid as alimony and never the duration of the payments.

4. Temporary Alimony

This type of alimony is called temporary or alimony pendent lite. It is usually agreed at the beginning of the divorce processing and the receiving spouse can rely on this while the divorce is ongoing. Once the formal divorce decree is reached, the temporary alimony is stopped and is usually replaced by any one of the other types of alimony awards.

5. Permanent Alimony

This type of alimony is commonly granted by a court in the case of moderate or long-term marriages where the receiving spouse can bring many factors spanning several years into consideration. This standard by which the court views alimony value is dependent on the views of the judge and can be quite subjective. Where one spouse is unable to live according to the standard of the marriage and can show that with other factors, permanent alimony can be awarded. In some short-term marriages, there have been extreme circumstances where permanent alimony is awarded to one spouse.

Permanent alimony can be modified based on changes in the situation of either ex-spouse or if the receiving spouse enters into a new relationship that involves receiving support from a non-family member.

Consult an experienced family law practice in Altamonte Springs today

If you are filing for divorce in Altamonte Spring, speak to a family law practice in Altamonte Springs for advice on how to obtain a fair and just resolution to the divorce proceedings.

Contact Frank Family Law Practice today to arrange a divorce or family law consultation with experienced and reputable divorce attorneys that will help ease you through your divorce and other family law issues in Altamonte Springs.