Paying Alimony in Florida: What You Need to Know

When someone is going through a divorce, a lot of concerns are on their mind. One of the biggest questions that arise when going through a divorce is alimony. Many people ask: how much will I have to pay? Will I receive any payment? Will I be able to afford alimony payments? If these questions are a concern for you, here is what you need to know about paying alimony in Florida.

In short, there is no simple mathematical formula we can use to calculate your alimony. The court bases its discretion on multiple factors such as entitlement, duration, amount, and type of alimony payment. However, there are specific parameters the court is bound to when determining these factors. As you can imagine, no marriage is the same, and each case will be different.

Alimony Entitlement

Alimony laws exist to ensure one spouse maintains a certain standard of living after a divorce. To ensure this is the case, courts look at the breadwinning spouse to provide payment for basic living necessities to the other spouse. When two spouses are together, they both enjoy a specific standard of living. Unfortunately, after a divorce, the standard of living for both parties tend to go down. However, alimony is necessary among divorce, especially if one spouse has difficulty supporting themselves on their own.

When determining alimony in Florida, there are many factors the court considers, such as the need and ability to pay alimony benefits. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Standard of living throughout the marriage
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Financial resources of both parties, such as marital and non-marital assets and liabilities
  • Age, physical, and emotional condition of both parties
  • Educational level, vocational skills, earning capacity, and employability of both parties
  • Any minor children both parties have in common
  • Contributions made to the other party during the marriage such as education, child care, homemaking, and career-building
  • The tax treatment and consequences from both parties
  • All available sources of income from both parties

Duration and Amount of Alimony

Length of marriage is a quintessential factor when determining both the type and amount of alimony payment. The courts classify marriage under three categories, short, moderate, and long-term. A short term marriage is any marriage that lasted fewer than seven years. A long-term marriage is any marriage that lasted more than 17 years. A moderate-term marriage is any marriage that lasted more than seven years but less than 17 years.

Likewise, alimony is not supposed to be punitive, but to recognize that one party may have more skills and resources than the other. When determining the duration, there is a rebuttal against providing permanent alimony to a short-term marriage. As for a long-term marriage, there is a rebuttal for permanent alimony. And for a moderate-term marriage, there is neither a rebuttal for or against permanent alimony.

Different Types of Alimony in Florida

  • Permanent: Permanent alimony persists until the payee spouse remarries, or the death of either party occurs. Courts can modify permanent alimony payments in the case of substantial changes in circumstances.
  • Durational: Durational alimony provides payment assistance for a set period. Courts can rescind alimony upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the alimony recipient. Likewise, courts can modify durational alimony in the case of substantial changes in circumstances. However, the length is unchangeable, unless under exceptional circumstances, and the payment length may not exceed the length of the marriage.
  • Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative alimony intents to assist a spouse during their rehabilitation process. The party pursuing rehabilitative alimony must provide a burden of proof showing their rehabilitation plan, the objective for rehabilitation, the cost and period of the plan, and how it will make them self-supporting.
  • Lump-Sum: Lump-Sum alimony consists of one time or installment payments. The court orders lump-sum alimony when permanent alimony is justified, and special circumstances exist, such as the paying spouse is in poor health.
  • Bridge-the-Gap: Bridge-the-Gap alimony is for a short duration to help the spouse with legitimate short-term needs. This type of alimony may not exceed two years and is non-modifiable.
    Nominal: Nominal alimony exists when the court decides entitlement. However, due to inadequate resources available, sufficient alimony cannot meet the needs of the spouse. Therefore, nominal alimony reserves jurisdiction for courts to later adjust the payment amount.

Contact Florida Law Advisers for Divorce Consultation

Divorce is never an easy decision and is often a long and grueling process. The average divorce takes 12 months to settle. However, some divorces can last much longer. If you are going through a divorce, you must receive legal consultation to ensure both you and your spouse receive proper representation. At Florida Law Advisers, we specialize in divorce consultation and will work with you to ensure we meet your specific demands. If you are unsure about paying alimony in Florida, feel free to contact our office where our team is available 24/7 to provide the type of divorce consultation you deserve!