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Alimony in Florida

Posted by attorney Andrew Storie

Spousal Support, also known as Alimony, is a type of payment for the support and maintenance of a spouse, either by lump sum or on a continuing basis. Alimony - Spousal Support is paid by the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse.

Before consideration of an award of alimony, the court must first determine whether either spouse has an actually need for alimony and whether either spouse has the ability to pay alimony. If the court finds that one spouse has a need for alimony and that the other spouse has the ability to pay alimony, then the court must look at the factors in Florida Statutes section 61.08(2) in determining the proper type and amount of alimony.

Essentially there are six types of Alimony - Spousal Support:

· Temporary Alimony - Spousal Support: is typically in cases where one spouse has a demonstrated need and the other spouse has the ability to pay alimony. It is designed to assist the lower income earning spouse until the resolution of the divorce lawsuit.

· Lump Sum Alimony – Spousal Support: is a one time payment of a set amount. It is only granted if the court finds justification for a lump sum award and there is money available for a lump sum award.

· Rehabilitative alimony - Spousal Support: Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity to be self supporting through either (1) redeveloping previous skills or credentials or (2) acquiring education or training to develop employment skills or credentials.

· Bridge-the-gap - Spousal Support: is a type of alimony which is of a short duration typically to assist the lower income earning spouse into making the transition from being married to being single.

· Durational Alimony – Spousal Support– the purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration. The length of the durational alimony award may not exceed the length of the marriage.

· Permanent Periodic Alimony - Spousal Support: Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet those needs following a dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration, following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the factors set forth in Florida Statutes section 61.08(2), or following a marriage of short duration if there are exceptional circumstances. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship.

The factors that courts consider when granting Alimony or Spousal Support, include:

 (a) The standard of living established during the marriage.

 (b) The duration of the marriage.

 (c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.

 (d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.

 (e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.

 (f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.

 (g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.

 (h) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.

 (i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to

either party through investments of any asset held by that party.

 (j)Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

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