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ALIMONY / SPOUSAL SUPPORT

Alimony, or spousal support, is the payment from one spouse to another for support based on the need of the receiver and the other spouse’s ability to pay. The amount and duration of alimony is a decision over which the court has a great deal of discretion. Either spouse can pay or receive alimony depending on the financial circumstances of each couple. No two cases are ever the same and no two awards of alimony can be compared with one another. Alimony is determined individually on a case-by-case basis.

According to Florida law, marriages are generally divided into three (3) categories:

 

  • Short term marriages, are those that are less than seven (7) years in length. There is generally a presumption against receiving alimony in these situations, but again, that can be determined on a case by case basis.

  • Moderate term marriages are those that are more than seven (7), but less than seventeen (17) years in length.

  • Long term marriages are marriages greater than seventeen (17) years in length. In these marriages, there is a presumption in favor of alimony, however, each case is different. Whether or not a person pays or receives alimony is based on the specific circumstances of the couple, need, ability to pay and the length of the marriage, among other things.

 

There are also several types of alimony available under Florida law, depending on the facts of each case:

  • Temporary alimony may be awarded during the course of a divorce to assist the receiving spouse with his or her living expenses while the matter is being litigated. Simply because a court awards temporary alimony does not automatically mean that any other form of alimony will be awarded.

  • Bridge-the-Gap alimony is alimony that is aimed at assisting the receiving spouse in the transition from being married to being single and self-supporting. Bridge-the-Gap alimony may not be awarded for a term greater than two (2) years and neither the duration nor the amount of the award may be modified.

  • Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to allow the receiving spouse to obtain education and job training to return them to the work force after the divorce is final. This type of alimony requires an exhaustive Rehabilitative Plan and may be modified by the court as to amount and duration depending on the spouse’s progress through their rehabilitation.

  • Durational alimony may be awarded in cases where the receiving spouse requires support for a defined period of time and where permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. This type of alimony is usually awarded for a set period of time in either short term or moderate term marriages and its duration may not exceed the length of the marriage. A modification as to amount may be had with a substantial change in circumstances, but the duration of the award is generally non-modifiable.

  • Permanent Periodic alimony may be awarded in long-term marriages. It is a set monthly amount that is provided to one spouse when he or she does not have the financial means to support himself or herself. While, this type of alimony is usually only awarded in long-term marriages, it can be awarded with shorter marriage under exceptional circumstances (i.e. age of the spouse, illness of the spouse, etc.) This type of alimony can be modified with a substantial change in circumstances or if the receiving spouse enters into a “supportive relationship.”

The court must first determine if there is a need for alimony and if the paying spouse would have the ability to pay. If that is found to be the case, the court has a list of factors they must consider in making an alimony determination including, but not limited to: length of the marriage, contributions of each party to the marriage, physical and emotional conditions of each spouse, the financial resources of each spouse, etc. 

Contact Ms. Banister at (386) 256-3057 to discuss your rights under the law regarding this complex and often times misunderstood area of divorce. It is our goal to provide each client with aggressive representation in obtaining the best possible results.

SERVING VOLUSIA AND FLAGLER COUNTIES

737 S. Ridgewood Avenue, Suite 221, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114   

226 E. New York Avenue, DeLand, Florida 32724

(386) 256-3057

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