Reaching A Fair Alimony Settlement Under Florida Divorce Law
Unlike child support, there are no hard-and-fast mathematical calculations or formulas for alimony or spousal support. At Matthews & Jones L.L.P., we have represented the best interests of both husbands and wives in this challenging and sometimes contentious area of divorce law. In some cases, there is a presumption for alimony, and in other cases there is a presumption against alimony. Most situations, however, fall into a gray area in which judges can use their own discretion (or the two parties can reach an agreement) when deciding whether to order alimony and how much to award. When you’re attempting to navigate this type of family law, it’s essential that you invest in educated family legal advising to guide you through many of these proceedings so that you can represent your interests properly.
Will My Divorce Settlement Include Alimony Payments?
In Florida, alimony or spousal support is determined by the needs of one spouse and the earning capacity, and the ability, of the other spouse to pay.
There are a number of factors that a court will consider in determining a proper alimony or maintenance award, including:
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
- The financial resources of each party, the non-marital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
- The time needed for either party to acquire education or training for appropriate employment.
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including services rendered in homemaking, child care, education and career building of the other party.
- All sources of income available to either party.
Types of Alimony or Spousal Maintenance
There are several different types of alimony or spousal maintenance awards. They can be durational, temporary, short-term or “bridge the gap” alimony, for which the judge orders alimony for a finite period of time (such as three years). You may also pursue rehabilitative alimony (to allow a spouse to finish an education) or permanent alimony.
- Durational Alimony
The purpose of durational alimony is to provide economic assistance for a set period of time.
- Permanent Periodic Alimony
The two main factors that the court will consider when determining whether to award a spouse permanent periodic alimony are: 1) duration of the marriage; and 2) whether there is a disparity between the spouse’s incomes.
- Lump Sum Alimony
This is exactly what it sounds like: alimony paid in a lump sum of money to the other, usually to offset assets in equitable distribution.
- Rehabilitative Alimony
The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to provide a spouse with the opportunity to become self-supporting by getting the necessary education and skills needed; this can include vocational school, college, and otherwise.
- Bridge the Gap Alimony
Alimony that is designed and intended to assist a person to transition from being married to single. A spouse might need some time to get a job or money for expenses of moving out and getting an apartment and/or furniture. Usually bridge-the-gap alimony is usually for a short term (not more than a couple of years).
Terminating or Changing Alimony Payments
Factors for terminating alimony or spousal support can include remarriage, being involved in a supportive relationship with another person, or other factors affecting the dependent spouse’s ability to support him or herself.
If you need assistance obtaining or defending your alimony rights, we would be happy to meet with you and discuss your options. We represent clients throughout the Northwest Florida region and can help you navigate the details of family law with grace. Contact us today at (850) 837-3662 or contact us.
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