Whether you are the party potentially paying alimony or the one receiving it, there’s no doubt that the outcome of your case is important to you. Your selection of alimony representation is critical for your understanding of the key issues and your ability to have your rights represented in court.
Make sure you have a lawyer who has years of experience representing the best interests of clients in court. With alimony on the line, you deserve a lawyer who cares about the optimal outcome for you. Alimony will significantly affect your financial future and should only be handled by an experienced lawyer.
What is Alimony?
Alimony is often the most emotionally-charged part of a divorce. Paying support to an ex-spouse can be downright exasperating and frustrating. No one wants to spend money in the form of alimony and fights are not uncommon among spouses.
At the core of alimony are the ability to pay and the need for the party receiving alimony. Ten factors set out in Florida statues are used to determine alimony. Some of them are the standard of living during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, the age of the parties, the physical and emotional condition of both parties, the financial resources of each party, and earning capacity.
Florida Statute 61.08: Basics of Alimony
(1) ”In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may grant alimony to either party, which alimony may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent in nature or any combination of these forms of alimony. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments or payments in lump sum or both. The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. In all dissolution actions, the court shall include findings of fact relative to the factors enumerated in subsection (2) supporting an award or denial of alimony.” Florida Statute 61.08
(2) ”In determining whether to award alimony or maintenance, the court shall first make a specific factual determination as to whether either party has an actual need for alimony or maintenance and whether either party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance. If the court finds that a party has a need for alimony or maintenance and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance then in determining the proper type and amount of alimony or maintenance under subsection (5)-(8) the court shall consider all relevant factors….” Florida Statute 61.08
Types of Alimony
One of the standards used to determine whether permanent alimony applies is the duration of the marriage. Florida considered a marriage on less than seven years to be short-term. A marriage longer than seventeen years is a long-term marriage and a moderate duration as seven to seventeen years.
Often, permanent alimony ends upon the death of either party or remarriage of the recipient.
Sometimes, if an ex-spouse is living with a supportive individual, then this will reduce the need for alimony. The Supportive Relationship must have started after the divorce, when the original alimony was already awarded. Sometimes, this is hard to prove to the court, but the court will consider factors such as if the person and recipient appear as though they are a married couple and the length of time they have spent together.
Durational Alimony is to provide to the ex-spouse some economic assistance for a set period. Alternatively, it may be awarded if there is “no need for support on a permanent basis.” Durational alimony has become the norm in Florida.
Like permanent alimony, durational alimony ends upon death or remarriage. It can be changed or reduced if there is a supportive relationship or other changes in circumstances.
The guidelines state that durational alimony may not exceed the length of the marriage. This means that the durational alimony cannot be changed to permanent alimony and the alimony ends at the time period the marriage ended.
Rehabilitative alimony is awarded when the party to receive alimony needs additional help to get back on their feet in terms of further training or education.
As the recipient of rehabilitation alimony, he/she redevelops his/her skills or credentials through education, training, or experience to gain willful employment.
The party must submit to the court a plan of action to get the rehabilitative alimony. If he/she has been unable to rehabilitate within a period of time, then the rehabilitative alimony can be extended. If the circumstances change, and the hopes for rehabilitation has not been successful then the alimony can be changed to durational alimony.
Bridge-the-gap alimony in Florida assists the ex-spouse by providing support while he/she makes the transition to being single. The alimony addresses short-term needs and may last as long as two years. It, too, ends upon the death of either party or remarriage. It can be modified in duration and the amount.
Lump-Sum alimony is determined by the need and ability to pay. Lump-sum alimony is an amount that is to be paid to the ex-spouse in a fixed sum but not always in one payment. The lump-sum can be paid over a duration of time. Lump-sum alimony does not terminate by death or remarriage.
One specific time when lump-sum alimony is used quite often is when there is such hostility between the two ex-spouses that it becomes impossible to make payments.
When the existing resources are limited, a lump-sum cannot be awarded. The party cannot get a lump-sum just to improve a “nest egg” of savings. There must be a demonstrated need for the alimony.
The source of the lump-sum can be martial and non-marital assets. A house can be awarded as lump-sum alimony if there is not enough income.
Contact An Experienced Orlando Alimony Attorney
No matter what your concerns are with regard to alimony, you deserve an honest and clear appraisal of your case. This should only be handled by a Florida alimony lawyer with experience and knowledge or the intricacies involved in family legal matters. Schedule a free consultation today with Frost Law, call (407) 670-5569.