Florida Alimony: Florida Spousal Support Payments Due to Divorce
When a couple decides to divorce in Florida, one of the financial considerations will be whether or not either spouse will be entitled to financial support from the other spouse, commonly known as “alimony.” How much, and for how long, one ex-spouse is legally obligated to pay money to their ex-wife or ex-husband in alimony payments depends upon a variety of factors.
State of Florida Alimony Law: Florida Alimony Statute
Florida alimony, also known as Florida spousal support, is provided for in Florida Statutes 61.08.
4 Types of Florida Alimony
As defined in Florida Statute 61.08, Florida has 4 types of spousal support or alimony:
1. Bridge-the-Gap Alimony
Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, and the length of an award may not exceed 2 years.
2. Rehabilitative Alimony
Rehabilitative alimony has a monthly payment made over a set time period for a “rehab” purpose, so an ex-spouse can return to college to complete their degree or to learn a new trade, for example.
3. Durational Alimony
Durational alimony is awarded in situations where the ex-spouse needs financial help for a set period of time but there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.
4. Temporary Alimony
The court may award a reasonable amount of alimony during the pendency of the divorce proceeds.
What About Permanent Alimony?
As of 2023, Florida no longer has permanent alimony.
Does Everyone Have to Pay Florida Alimony? No.
According to Florida law, the court must decide whether to award alimony or maintenance, and this is done by providing evidence to the court so the judge can make factual determinations that (1) one of the spouses has an actual need for alimony or maintenance and (2) the other spouse has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance. Only if it is found that (1) one party has a need for alimony and (2) the other party has the ability to pay, will the procedure of determining Florida alimony amounts, etc., come into play.
What Does the Court Consider in Deciding Florida Alimony?
Factors that the Florida family law judge considers in awarding alimony or spousal support includes (from Florida Statute 61.08(2):
(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.
(b) The duration of the marriage.
(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
(d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
(e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
(f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
(h) 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.
(i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
(j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
How is Florida Alimony Paid?
Florida law does not distinguish between the four types of Florida alimony, and any of the four types of Florida spousal support can be paid as (1) a lump sum, one-time payment; (2) a series of monthly payments; or (3) a combination of these two, as decided by the Florida divorce judge or by the parties’ agreement, and delineated in the judge’s Alimony Court Order.
Moreover, until that final Alimony Court Order or Final Divorce Judgment is entered by the Florida judge, the ex-spouses may be placed under a temporary alimony payment plan while the divorce case proceeds through litigation.
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Broward County Alimony Attorney
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