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Florida Alimony Laws: What You Need to Know

Posted on February 8, 2021

Alimony is the payment made from one spouse to another during and/or after a divorce.  Alimony was created to ensure that neither spouse would become destitute after the divorce.  While a portion of alimony cases continue in that vein, many alimony cases today are focused on allowing each divorcing spouse to be able to continue enjoying the standard of living they had during the marriage.

What does the court do?

If you file an alimony case, the first objective of the court is to decide if there is entitlement to alimony.  The court will need to determine if there is a need from one spouse and if the other spouse has the capacity to pay alimony.

The next step is for the court to determine the type and amount of alimony.  The court has authority to decide this and will use the following factors in their evaluation:

  • Length of marriage
  • Age, physical and emotional health of each spouse
  • Financial resources (including marital and non-marital assets and liabilities)
  • Other income sources including investments, etc.
  • Contributions to the marriage by each spouse including but not limited to homemaking, childcare, and career building
  • Levels of education, skills, employment possibilities, and earning capacities
  • Responsibilities with children from the relationship
  • Tax-related considerations

Each case is carefully reviewed by the court as a unique circumstance.  That said, there are general presumptions for alimony cases.  Shorter marriages (less than 7 years) are less likely to have entitlements to alimony while longer marriages (more than 17 years) are more likely to have entitlements to alimony.  There is no presumption for marriages between 7 to 17 years of duration.

The following step is for the court to determine the type of alimony that will be awarded. 

Payment can be specified to be in a lump-sum, through periodic payments, or both.

Bridge-the-Gap
Selected when the court awards one spouse a short duration payment to help during the transition to single life. This type of alimony can last 2 years and cannot be modified.

Rehabilitative
Selected when a spouse requires assistance to become self-supportive. The payee spouse must show goals and plans in order to qualify for this type of alimony.

Durational
Selected when one spouse requires assistance for a specific period of time after a short or medium duration marriage. This type terminates if the payee spouse is remarried or upon the death of either spouse. The amount of durational alimony can be modified but the length is only modified in extenuating circumstances.

Nominal
Selected when the court finds entitlement but the payor spouse has insufficient resources to meet the needs as determined by the court. This can be modified at a later date.

Permanent
Selected after long-term marriages to provide a spouse with the necesities of life as established during marriage. This type of alimony has no end date and can be modified.

Lump-Sum
Selected as a one-time payment often awarded in special circumstances.

Periodic
Selected in majority of cases and allowing payments to be made in specific amounts over time.

It is important to note that the court can modify alimony payments if the payee spouse has remarried or is in a relationship that involves financial support.

If you have questions, Troy Legal has the answers.  The experts at Troy Legal have helped thousands of individuals with Family Law issues including alimony.  Contact our South Florida offices at (305) 514-0466 or (561) 910-4570 to speak with an attorney today.

Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., specializes in Marital and Family Law, providing reputable legal services for prenuptial and co-habitation agreements, paternity cases, adoption matters, alimony and child support, time sharing and parenting plans, drafting of qualified domestic relations orders (qdros), mediation services, equitable distributions, collaborative law, post-judgement modification and enforcement, domestic violence cases, and dissolution of marriage or divorce.  Troy Legal, P.is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.

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Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.

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