Divorce is rarely easy and some cases are more complex than others. In any Florida divorce case, various issues will need to be dealt with, including the issue of alimony. Alimony, sometimes called “spousal support,” is court-ordered financial support that one spouse may be required to pay to the other. While there are various factors a court can look at when determining alimony, income disparity will generally be the primary catalyst for an alimony award. Regardless of which side of the alimony case you may be on, the Family Law Advocates are here to make sure you’re treated fairly throughout the negotiation and court process. As family law professionals, we understand the importance of being able to meet your financial needs after your divorce is done.
Our Tampa area divorce and child custody team is dedicated solely to the practice of family law, including issues related to alimony. Whether you’re going through a divorce or dealing with modifying or enforcing your alimony orders, we are here to help. Under Florida law, there are generally 4 types of alimony you might pay or receive:
- Bridge-the-Gap Alimony
- Rehabilitative Alimony
- Durational Alimony
- Permanent Alimony
The length of your marriage and each spouse’s financial resources and needs will impact whether you might pay or receive alimony in your divorce case.Florida Alimony and Divorce
Under Florida law, for one person to seek alimony from another, there must be a marriage. Florida Statute, Chapter 61.08, sets forth the various factors a family law judge should consider when determining alimony. Those factors include, but are not limited to:
- Each spouse’s income
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Length of the marriage
- Age and health of each spouse
- Each spouse’s financial resources, including marital and non-marital assets and debt
- Income, earning capacity, education and training
- Contribution to the marriage, including homemaking and child raising contributions
- How parental responsibilities are divided for joint children
- Tax consequences (under IRS Code alimony is no longer deductible, nor considered income)
Under Florida law, a court can also consider adultery on the part of either spouse when determining the issue of alimony. While looking at all these factors, the court is required to assess whether either party has a need for spousal support from the other and whether either party has the ability to pay. In Florida, alimony is up to the discretion of the judge and an award of alimony is not mandated in each case. As such, your specific facts will matter when it comes time to settle or litigate your divorce. Courts can award temporary alimony in a divorce case. A spouse can also file a separate case for alimony without even filing for divorce.
What type of alimony you may pay or receive can depend on the length of your marriage. A short-term marriage is one under 7 years in length. A moderate-term marriage lasts between 7 and 17. A long-term marriage is one of 17 years or more. The type of alimony you pay or receive affects whether the alimony award can be modified, as to amount and/or duration.
- Bridge-the-Gap (BTG) alimony is alimony designed to help one spouse, with identified needs, transition from being married to single, for a duration not to exceed 2 years. “BTG” alimony cannot be modified.
- Rehabilitative alimony is designed to assist a party in need so that they can become financially self-sufficient, whether through educational or other training. An order for rehabilitative alimony can be modified or terminated based on a substantial change in circumstances, including non-compliance with or completion of the rehabilitative plan entered by the court or agreed upon by the parties.
- Durational alimony can be awarded when permanent alimony is not appropriate. Durational alimony is designed to provide support to a spouse in need, after a short, moderate, or long term marriage, when there is a need for support that is not permanent. Generally, an award of durational alimony can be modified as to amount, but not duration.
- Permanent alimony may be awarded in any length of marriage, though is generally reserved for longer term unions. To award permanent alimony, a court must find that none of the other types of alimony would be appropriate, given the specific circumstances of the case. Permanent alimony may be modified or terminated based on a substantial change in circumstances.
Typically, an aware of alimony will terminate upon the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the recipient. The court can order the paying spouse to secure life insurance as an offset to their alimony obligation, should s/he die prior to the duration being completed. Spouses can also enter into agreements making alimony “non-modifiable.”
The attorneys at The Family Law Advocates are experienced in dealing with alimony cases and are here to help you with all aspects of yours, including issues concerning modification and payment of alimony after your divorce is done.Why Hire the Family Law Advocates for Your Alimony Case?
In order for any family law firm to be effective, they need to understand the law. Each of our attorneys has years of experience in divorce and family law matters, and they understand the complex Florida statutes governing alimony and spousal support cases. However, knowing the law isn’t enough. An effective law firm must be well-versed in negotiation and litigation, both at the settlement table and in the courtroom.
We begin by conducting a thorough review and analysis of your case. We look at your income and your spouse’s income, the length of the marriage, the ages and number of children, the standard of living during the marriage, any property that has been or will be awarded to the parties, and the earning potential of both spouses. After determining what a fair outcome might look like, given your circumstances and Florida law, your attorney will formulate a strategy for meeting your objectives. Finally, we aggressively fight, first in settlement and perhaps later on in court, to obtain the best possible outcome under the law. Whether you are the payor or recipient of alimony, we will work hard to make sure you are treated appropriately throughout your case.Protect Your Future and Hire the Right Spousal Support Firm
When you find yourself in need of a Tampa Bay area family law firm to handle your alimony and spousal support case, make your first call to the Family Law Advocates. Our attorneys will schedule your initial consultation and meet with you to discuss your concerns. Let our divorce and family law team help to protect your future and secure alimony orders that are fair to you.
The Family Law Advocates also handle all other aspects of Florida divorce, including division of marital property, child custody, and child support matters. Contact us online or give us a call to schedule an initial consultation.