Understanding Alimony and Spousal Support in Florida Divorce Cases

One of the critical aspects of Divorce that requires clarity is understanding Alimony. At The Marks Law Firm, P.A., we specialize in Family Law and Divorce cases, and are here to shed light on this important topic.

What is Alimony?

Alimony, commonly known as spousal support, refers to the financial support one spouse may be required to pay to the other after a Divorce or Legal Separation. Its purpose is to help the recipient or payee spouse maintain a standard of living similar to what they experienced during the marriage. Important factors surrounding Alimony being awarded by the Court in Florida include the payor spouse’s ability to pay and the payee spouse’s financial need to receive payments. Alimony can be Temporary, Bridge the Gap Alimony, Rehabilitative Alimony, Lump Sum Alimony or Durational Alimony, depending on various factors considered by the Court outlined below. It ends upon remarriage or death of one of the involved parties. Florida Statutes regarding Alimony are gender neutral, meaning both men and women are eligible to receive it, when appropriate. Specific costs associated with Alimony are dependent on information outlined in Financial Affidavits, Mandatory Disclosures, tax returns, etc. Please note that Alimony is not available in a Paternity case.

Types of Alimony in Florida

In Florida, five different types of Alimony exist, tailored to meet different needs and circumstances:

  1. Temporary Alimony: This is provided by the Court through the duration of the Divorce process. From the date of filing to the date of the Final Judgment, the payee spouse receives financial support if appropriate under the circumstances of the case. Once a Divorce matter is finalized by the Court, Temporary Alimony payments are no longer administered. Temporary Alimony would be appropriate if a payor spouse fails to maintain the status quo for the recipient during the Divorce. Relevant examples include failing to pay the mortgage, utilities, grocery expenses, etc.
  2. Bridge-the-gap Alimony: When a payee spouse needs help to transition from being married to being single, this type of Alimony may be appropriate. Bridge-the-gap Alimony provides support for legitimate, identifiable short-term needs. Examples of short-term needs include lease or mortgage payments. Per Florida Statute 61.08, this type of Alimony is only permitted for a maximum of two years post Dissolution of Marriage. In other words, the payor spouse cannot be ordered to pay Bridge-the-gap Alimony for more than two years after the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is entered.
  1. Rehabilitative Alimony: The intention of Rehabilitative Alimony is to support the recipient spouse in getting back on their feet while they pursue further education, start a new business venture, or complete necessary training to re-enter the workforce. For this to be awarded by the Court, the payee spouse is required to prepare a rehabilitation plan. Should the payee spouse be interested in furthering his or her education, the rehabilitation plan would include a list of necessary classes to obtain a degree or certificate, the cost of said classes, the estimated timeframe of completion/graduation, and other relevant factors.
  1. Lump-sum Alimony: Considered unique, Lump-sum Alimony is not often awarded by the Courts as of 2024. Given the name, spouses may expect that this type of Alimony is paid all at once. However, Lump-sum Alimony can be paid at one time, periodically, annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly, the list goes on. The total amount of Alimony or Lump-sum amount is determined at Mediation, Trial or at any other juncture of the case. Unlike the other types of Alimony described above and below, Lump-sum Alimony cannot be modified at a later date. It is a fixed amount.
  2. Durational Alimony: The purpose of Durational Alimony is to provide a payee spouse with financial assistance for a set time. It may be awarded following a short, moderate, or long-term marriage. This type of Alimony may not be awarded following a marriage lasting less than 3 years. For reference, Florida law defines a short-term marriage as less than 10 years, a moderate-term marriage as more than 10 but less than 20 years, and long-term marriage as more than 20 years.

It is important to recognize that each type of Alimony may end or be reduced (except for Lump Sum Alimony) if the payee spouse engages in cohabitation/a financially supportive relationship.

Courts in Florida consider several factors when determining Alimony, including:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Financial resources and earning capacities of each spouse
  • Contributions to the marriage, both financial and non-financial
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Any other factors necessary to do justice between the parties

Modifying Alimony orders can be complicated and require legal assistance. Circumstances such as job loss, illness, or a substantial change in income may warrant a modification of Alimony payments.

We provide personalized legal strategies tailored to each of our Client’s unique situations, and strive to achieve the best possible outcome, especially when minor children are involved. Our Team at The Marks Law Firm, P.A. is committed to guiding our Family Law Clients with compassion and genuine care. If you have questions about Alimony, Divorce, or any other Family Law matter, contact us today.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *