While the emotional impact of your divorce may be palpable, its financial impact could prove more painful. You may have relied on your spouse’s income to enhance your standard your living. Or, they may have supported you while you stayed home to raise your children. In either case, you will likely wonder how you will make it on your own. Your circumstances, though, may make you eligible for alimony in Florida.
Types of alimony in Florida
If you and your spouse have separated and you need help supporting yourself, you will want to petition for alimony pendente lite. This type of alimony is temporary and is meant to help you make ends meet before and during divorce proceedings.
Once your divorce finalizes, you will receive one of four types of alimony. If you need help moving or adjusting to a new lifestyle, your spouse may provide you with bridge-the-gap alimony. This support will last no longer than two years.
If you need to pursue education or training to become self-sufficient, your spouse may provide you with rehabilitative alimony. To receive rehabilitative alimony, you must come up with a plan that accounts for the costs of your professional development, the length of time it will take and your estimated date of achieving self-sufficiency. If you deviate from this plan, your spouse may be able to modify or terminate their obligation.
If you need ongoing – but not permanent – financial assistance, your spouse may provide you with durational alimony. Keep in mind that durational alimony will last no longer than the length of your marriage.
If you and your spouse were married for a long time, or if you depended completely on their income, they may provide you with permanent alimony. Permanent alimony will only terminate upon your remarriage, a change in you or your spouse’s circumstances or the death of either of you.
How Florida courts award alimony
Florida courts weigh numerous factors when determining whether you receive an alimony award. The length of your marriage, though, affects the type of support you can receive. The state breaks marriages lengths down into three different time frames, being:
- Short-term: Marriages lasting fewer than seven years
- Moderate-term: Marriages lasting between seven and fewer than 17 years
- Long-term: Marriages lasting 17 years or longer
If your marriage was short-term, you may be unable to receive permanent alimony, but may be eligible for all other types. Yet, if your marriage was moderate-term or long-term, you could receive permanent alimony, too, depending on your needs.
In ruling on the duration and value of your alimony award, the court will consider:
- Your married standard of living
- You and your spouse’s age, physical well-being and emotional well-being
- You and your spouse’s marital and individual assets and liabilities
- Whether you or your spouse will be responsible for taking care of any children you have
- You and your spouse’s education histories, professional skills and earning abilities
- You and your spouse’s monetary and nonmonetary contributions to your marriage
Florida’s alimony laws may seem extensive and complex. Yet, by familiarizing yourself with them, you can fight for the support you need. An attorney with family law experience can help you work toward an award that fits your circumstances.