How Is Alimony Determined In Florida?
Florida law provides a comprehensive explanation of how alimony, or “spousal support”, is determined during a divorce. Alimony is financial support paid by one spouse to the other following the dissolution of marriage.
Types Of Alimony In Florida
According to Florida Statutes Section 61.08, Florida courts may award several types of alimony in divorce cases: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and, until 7-1-2023, permanent alimony. The type awarded depends on the individual circumstances of the parties involved.
This is short-term financial support aimed to help the receiving party transition from married to single life. It addresses immediate and identifiable needs and lasts no more than two years. This type of alimony ends upon the death of either party or if the recipient remarries and cannot be changed in amount or duration once awarded.
This type of alimony is designed to help a party become self-supporting by developing old work skills or acquiring new ones. A defined rehabilitative plan is required, and the alimony can be modified or terminated based on changes in circumstances, noncompliance with the plan, or completion of the plan.
It provides financial support for a set period following a short, moderate, or long-term marriage. The alimony ends upon death or remarriage of the recipient, and the amount can be adjusted due to significant changes in circumstances. However, the duration of alimony cannot be extended beyond the following timeframes: 50% of the length of the marriage for short-term marriages (0 – 10 years); 60% of the length of the marriage for mid-term marriages (10 – 20 years); or 75% of the length of the marriage for long-term marriages (20 years or longer).
This type of alimony is no longer legal in Florida as of 7-1-23. However, it is still legal in all cases where it was awarded prior to the new alimony law which went into effect on July 1, 2023. This type of alimony supports the recipient’s lifestyle as established during the marriage. This type of alimony was often granted in long-term marriages prior to 7-1-23. It can be modified or terminated based on death, remarriage of the recipient spouse, substantial changes in circumstances, retirement, or the existence of a supportive financial relationship.
Factors Considered When Determining Alimony
Before any alimony is awarded, the court must first determine if there is an actual need for alimony by one party and whether the other party has the ability to pay. If both conditions are satisfied, the court then considers various factors to determine the proper type and amount of alimony:
- Standard of living during the marriage.
- Duration of the marriage.
- Age and the physical and emotional condition of each spouse.
- Financial resources of each spouse, including assets and liabilities.
- Earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the spouses.
- Contribution of each spouse to the marriage (homemaking, child care, education, career building, etc.).
- Responsibilities towards any minor children they have in common.
- All sources of income available to either spouse.
- Any other factor necessary to do justice between the spouses.
The court will also consider the impact of any adultery on the amount of alimony awarded. Moreover, the court can order the party paying alimony to secure it with life insurance, a bond, or other suitable assets.
Marriage Duration And Alimony
The duration of the marriage plays a significant role in the type of alimony granted. Florida law presumes that a short-term marriage lasts less than 10 years, a moderate-term marriage lasts more than 10 years but fewer than 20 years, and a long-term marriage lasts 20 years or more. The length of the marriage is calculated from the date of marriage until the date of filing for divorce.
Payment Method And Modifications
Alimony payments for orders issued on or after January 1, 1985, must typically be made through the appropriate governmental depository, unless there is no minor child, or if there is a minor child and both parties request otherwise. However, if a party fails to make payments, the affected party can apply to the depository to enforce the payment order by means of an Income Deduction Order.
Also, the alimony payor should not be left with significantly less net income than the recipient, unless there are exceptional circumstances. These rules aim to ensure fairness and equity in the distribution of resources post-divorce.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony, also known sometimes as spousal support, is a series of payments made by one spouse to the other following the dissolution of marriage. It’s intended ideally to maintain the financial status quo that was established during marriage, particularly for a spouse who was financially dependent.
How Is Alimony Determined In Florida?
In Florida, the court first determines if there is a need for alimony by one party and whether the other party has the ability to pay. If these conditions are met, then the court looks to the length of the marriage to determine how long any alimony award should be. After that, the court then considers various factors like the standard of living during the marriage, duration of the marriage, financial resources, age, and physical and emotional conditions of the parties, and adultery among other things.
What Are The Different Types Of Alimony Awarded In Florida?
As of 7-1-2023, There are three types of alimony that may be awarded in Florida: bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and durational alimony.
Can Alimony Be Modified Or Terminated In Florida?
Yes, depending on the type of alimony, it can be modified or terminated. For example, rehabilitative alimony can be modified or terminated based on changes in circumstances, noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or completion of the plan. Permanent alimony can be modified or terminated based on aa substantial changes in circumstances, retirement, or upon the existence of a supportive financial relationship.
Can Adultery Of A Spouse Affect The Alimony Awarded In Florida?
Yes, the court can consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony to be awarded.
Who Can Be Asked To Pay Alimony In Florida?
Either spouse can be asked to pay alimony. The court decides this based on several factors, including each party’s need for alimony and their ability to pay. The goal is to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage as much as possible.
What Happens If The Party Receiving Alimony Remarries?
The payment of bridge-the-gap, durational, and permanent alimony terminates upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony.
Can The Court Order A Spouse To Secure Alimony Payments With Life Insurance Or Other Assets?
Yes, the court can order any party who is ordered to pay alimony to secure such alimony award with a life insurance policy, a bond, or any other assets deemed suitable for that purpose.
Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, Florida Alimony Attorney
When dealing with alimony in Florida, it’s crucial to have a seasoned legal advocate by your side. The Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A., serving Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, FL provides meticulous legal counsel for family law matters and exceptional service, grounded in integrity, accountability, and compassion. Each client’s case is treated with utmost individual attention, and we’re dedicated to delivering the best possible outcomes for you. We understand the complexities of alimony decisions in Florida – their determination isn’t merely a calculation but also involves a nuanced understanding of numerous factors. So, don’t leave your future to chance. Contact us online or call us at (941) 556-7020 today. Put our dedicated and experienced team to work for you and let us champion your cause during this challenging time.