Alimony

Florida family law courts have broad discretion in awarding alimony or spousal support following a divorce proceeding. Depending on the circumstances of your marriage the judge may award alimony in the following forms:

  • Bridge the Gap Alimony – Short term alimony designed to assist a dependent spouse make the transition from being married to single life.  Bridge the Gap Alimony is used when there are identifiable short-term needs and will not exceed two years in duration.  It also terminates upon the death of either party or upon remarriage.  This form of alimony is NOT modifiable.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony – Often associated with “Bridge the Gap Alimony,” Rehabilitative Alimony is designed to financially support a spouse while they acquire the education or technical abilities necessary for self-support following a divorce.  An award of “Rehabilitative Alimony” requires a defined rehabilitation plan and is modifiable upon evidence of a substantial change in circumstances.
  • Durational Alimony – This form of alimony is generally used when “Permanent Alimony” is inappropriate and in relatively short term (less than 7 years) or moderate duration marriages (more 7 but less than 17 years).  “Durational Alimony” involves alimony payments made for a set period of time not to exceed the length of the marriage and may be modified only upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.
  • Permanent Alimony – This is the traditional alimony typically awarded following long-term marriages of 17 years or more and last until death or remarriage of the recipient. “Permanent Alimony” is designed to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage for a spouse who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs following a divorce.  Permanent Alimony terminates upon death, a substantial change of circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship involving cohabitation of the alimony recipient.

When awarding alimony the Florida divorce court is free to order periodic payments, lump sum payments or both and there is no set formula to calculate an award of alimony; it is completely left to the judge’s discretion.  When considering an award of alimony the court will first determine if there is a legitimate need for an alimony award and whether or not the other spouse has the ability to pay.  If the court finds that there is a need and an ability to pay, the judge shall consider all relevant factors to the marriage, including, but not limited to:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party;
  • The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each;
  • 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;
  •  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;
  •  The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common;
  • 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;
  • All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party; and
  • Whether either spouse is guilty of adultery and the circumstances thereof.

Your life and future following a divorce are extremely important and should also be taken into consideration during any divorce proceeding.

At Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A. we are here to help guide you through the complex divorce process and help you deal the stress and uncertainty that is involved with almost any divorce.  We are here to fight for you and act as your voice in these trying times.  For more information on Alimony or if you have any questions concerning divorce or any other family law matter please contact Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A