If you’re getting divorced in Florida, you have a lot of issues to confront. When spousal incomes aren’t equitable, or one spouse is unable to support themselves following divorce, the court may order alimony. You might wonder how much these payments will be or how long they will last. The answer is: it depends.
If alimony is going to be a factor in your divorce, you need a qualified Florida divorce attorney on your side. Whether you might be paying alimony or expect to receive it, Florida has no mathematical calculations for this benefit.
At Busciglio, Sheridan & Schoeb, we understand how alimony in Florida works, and we will fight for your best interests. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.
Who is Entitled to Alimony in Florida?
Most states, including Florida, permit the payment of alimony after a divorce. If there are two spouses, and one makes substantially more than the other, it wouldn’t be fair or equitable to expect the lower-earning spouse to walk away from a divorce and require food stamps, welfare, Medicaid, etc., to survive. This is where alimony can provide a much-needed safety net to the lower-earning spouse.
When alimony/spousal support is awarded, the courts will look to the breadwinning spouse to pay a certain amount that allows the other person to enjoy a similar standard of living to when the couple was married. But unfortunately, the standard of living of both spouses usually goes down when the couple splits up because there are two households to maintain.
Spousal support isn’t ordered in every case. But if a spouse doesn’t have any marketable skills, has been a stay-at-home parent for a long time, or is older or has medical limitations, alimony is a strong possibility. If both spouses worked throughout the marriage and earned comparable salaries, however, then the awarding of alimony may not be appropriate.
Different Types of Alimony in a Florida Divorce
Alimony payments in Florida are meant to level the playing field between two divorcing spouses. An important factor in awarding alimony is the length of the marriage. These are broken down into short-term (less than seven years), moderate-term (7-16 years), and long-term (17 or more years).
The types of alimony awarded in Florida serve different purposes. If you are divorcing, here are the different types of alimony that might be awarded:
Bridge-the-Gap alimony is paid for a short period to assist the receiving spouse with the transition from married to single life. The length of such an award cannot exceed two years. While some types of alimony can be modified if circumstances change, this one is not eligible for modification.
Similar to Bridge-the-Gap Alimony, Rehabilitative Alimony is meant to help the receiving spouse regain the ability for self-support. There must be some plan in place to achieve the self-support goal, such as returning to school or opening a business. The spouse seeking this type of alimony has the burden of proof to show that it is necessary and how it will achieve the desired goal.
Durational alimony is meant to provide the receiving spouse with financial support for an established period following a marriage lasting a short or moderate duration. This type of alimony will immediately cease upon the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the receiving spouse. It is also modifiable if there is a substantial change in circumstances.