What is Alimony?

Alimony (also known as spousal support) and issues regarding your children are typically the decisive factors considered in a divorce case. Finding a divorce attorney knowledgeable and experienced in the intricacies of Alimony law is vital to ensuring your interests both during and after a divorce. Tristan and Silvia Sanders have combined experience of over 50 years in litigation with a concentration of that experience in Alimony and Divorce cases. They understand the importance of Alimony and the financial burden of having to start over once the divorce is finalized.

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Types of Alimony – How Long Were You Married?

The duration of a marriage is the decisive factor when determining which “type” of Alimony may be appropriate to your case. Chapter 61.08 of the Florida Statutes create rebuttable presumptions regarding the application of Alimony depending on the length of the marriage.

  • Short-Term Marriage – presumed to have a duration of less than seven (7) years;
  • Intermediate Term Marriage – presumed to have a duration of between seven (7) and seventeen (17) years; and
  • Long-Term Marriage – presumed to be one that lasts seventeen (17) years, or longer.

Calculating the Duration of Marriage

The length, or duration, of a marriage is calculated beginning from the date the parties were legally married to the date of the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (divorce action). The type of Alimony awarded by the court will usually depend on the length of the marriage. It is important to consult with an experienced divorce attorney before filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, to make certain all contingencies are strategically considered to maximize and protect your interests.

Types of Alimony Under Florida Law

Florida Statutes provide that Alimony can be paid over time or in a lump sum. Both have advantages and disadvantages that parties contemplating divorce should discuss with an experienced divorce attorney. Tristan and Silvia Sanders can advise you on what type of Alimony is best suited in your case. Types of Alimony, or spousal support, include:

Permanent Alimony:

Permanent Alimony may be awarded to a party to provide for the necessities of life, as were established during the marriage and to the party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs after the finalization of a divorce. This type of Alimony is appropriately awarded in long-term marriages, may be awarded in intermediate-term marriages, and is awarded in some cases following a short-term marriage where there is a finding of exceptional circumstances.

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony:

This type of Alimony cannot exceed two (2) years and may be awarded to a party to allow them to make the transition from being married to being single.

Durational Alimony:

This type of Alimony may be awarded when Permanent Alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of Durational Alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a short-term or intermediate-term marriage.

Rehabilitative Alimony:

This type of Alimony is typically awarded for a limited period of time. It assists one party in developing vocational skills or educational training to gain the ability to become self-supporting.

Alimony typically terminates upon the death or remarriage of the Alimony recipient spouse. Alimony is also generally modifiable by law based upon a substantial material change in circumstances, or when the recipient spouse is engaged in a supportive relationship.

Need and Ability to Pay

In determining whether to award Alimony or spousal support, the court makes a determination based on the financial need of the “requesting” spouse and the financial ability to pay support of the “paying” spouse. This is often a complicated legal analysis.

Other Important Considerations

In determining that one party has a need for Alimony and the other party has the ability to pay alimony, the court shall consider all the relevant factors presented, including but not limited to:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The age and physical and emotional condition of each party.
  • The financial resources of each party, including the non-marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
  • The earnings capacity, educational level, vocational skill, and employability of the parties and when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable employment.
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage, not limited to services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and the career-building of the other party, and the responsibility each party will has regarding any minor children 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 or assets held by that party.
  • The Court may also consider any other factor necessary for equity and justice between the parties.

For more information and an analysis of your potential Alimony case, please contact Tristan and Silvia Sanders today at The Sanders Firm, P.A. (407) 843-0012.

Applicable Florida Alimony Statutes:

1. § 61.043, Fla. Stat. (2015) Commencement of a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for Alimony and child support; dissolution questionnaire.
2. § 61.08, Fla. Stat. (2015) Alimony.
3. § 61.071, Fla Stat. (2015) Alimony and Suit Monies.
4. § 61.12, Fla. Stat. (2015) Attachment of Garnishments for Alimony.
5. § 61.14, Fla. Stat. (2015) Enforcement or Modification of an Alimony Award.