Spousal Support & Alimony
What is Alimony in Florida law?
Alimony is defined as spousal support awarded pursuant to a divorce (dissolution of marriage) action. Temporary alimony may be awarded after the filing of the petition for dissolution and prior to the final judgment on dissolution. Spouses should be aware that the Florida family courts have the authority to enter an award of temporary alimony even in cases where there has been a waiver of spousal support in a valid prenuptial agreement.
Florida Alimony Laws
After the 2010 amendments to Florida Statutes 61.08, there are four forms of alimony in Florida. They include:
- Bridge-the-gap alimony which provides short-term (maximum of two years) assistance to a dependent spouse to transition from married to divorced life. Bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable in duration or amount; however, it is terminated upon remarriage or death of either former spouse. If a spouse is awarded temporary support and takes no actions to prepare for single life, bridge-the-gap alimony may be denied by the family court.
- Durational alimony is awarded in short (less than 7 years) or moderate duration (7 – 17 years) marriages where permanent alimony is not appropriate. It cannot be awarded for a duration longer than the length of the marriage. Durational alimony terminates upon remarriage or death of either spouse and may be modified upon a showing of substantial change of circumstances.
- Rehabilitative alimony is money awarded to help the dependent spouse become self-supporting through redevelopment of previous skills or credentials or through the acquisition of education, training or work experience. A rehabilitative plan must be included as part of the award of rehabilitative alimony. Rehabilitative alimony may be modified upon a substantial change of circumstances, noncompliance or completion of the plan.
- Permanent alimony may be awarded to a spouse who lacks the financial ability to meet their needs following divorce. The 2010 amendments to the alimony statute further indicate that permanent alimony may be awarded to a long-term marriage (17 years or greater), in a moderate-term marriage if such an award is appropriate considering the factors or in a short-term marriage (less than seven years) if there are exceptional circumstances. Permanent alimony generally terminates upon the remarriage of the recipient spouse or the death of either party. It can be modified upon proof of a substantial change of circumstances or existence of a supportive relationship as defined in the statutes. Another form of permanent alimony is lump sum alimony, which is alimony paid in a single payment versus being paid through periodic payments.
How do I get Alimony in Florida?
There are no alimony guidelines or alimony calculation formulas as is the case with child support issues. Instead, alimony laws in Florida indicate that a spouse must prove “need,” meaning that their income and award of assets is not sufficient to meet their reasonable monthly expenses and that the payor spouse has the ability to pay alimony. In addition, other alimony rules that the Florida family court will consider in determining if the payment of alimony to a wife or husband is justified and, if so, the amount of alimony that should be paid include:
- The standard of living during marriage
- The length of marriage
- The age, physical and mental health of the spouses
- The financial resources of both spouses, including the value of marital and nonmarital assets and liabilities for each spouse
- The income, earning capacity, education level, vocational skills and employability of each spouse
- The contributions of both parties to the marriage, including child-rearing duties, services as homemaker, and contributions to building the career or education of the other
- The child-rearing responsibilities of both spouses
- The tax consequences of an alimony award
- All sources of income available to either party, including investment income
As stated in our section on legal separations, there are no alimony support calculator programs in Florida. Instead, the Florida family court judges utilize the factors set forth above to determine whether alimony is appropriate in a particular case and, if so, how much the alimony payments should be and for how long. Our Miami spousal support attorneys can analyze your situation and give you legal advice on whether alimony will be part of your divorce case.
Contact Our Dade County Alimony and Separate Maintenance Attorneys
Our South Florida spousal support and alimony attorneys are experienced in offering our clients legal advice on whether alimony may be awarded in their divorce case, as well as calculating how much alimony may be paid and for how long.
Contact our Miami alimony attorneys at 305-222-7351 e-mail us to schedule an appointment to discuss your Dade County, Broward County or Monroe County alimony issue. Our Miami alimony lawyers accept family law cases in Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Monroe County.
Consultations are available in Miami and at several meeting locations throughout Dade and Broward Counties including Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Galiano Street in Coral Gables, West Country Club Drive in Aventura, Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood and in the Homestead area. Appointments are also available by telephone and via Skype internet video chat.