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Alimony Law in Florida: What You Need to Know

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Any stage of a divorce can present difficulties, both emotional and financial, as both parties seek to move on with their lives. To ease some of the financial uncertainty following a marriage’s end, one party might seek alimony, which is support or maintenance paid from one spouse to another.

If you’re living near Boca Raton, Florida, we’re here to help you cope with outcomes of your divorce. As with any legal issue, it’s important to know your rights when it comes to alimony. Let’s break down some facts on this complicated issue and explore the different types of alimony.

What the Courts Consider

When it comes to awarding alimony, courts consider the following when it comes to awarding payment:

  • What was the standard of living established during the marriage?
  • How long did the marriage last? A short term marriage is considered to be less than 7 years, a moderate term marriage is 7 to 17 years, and a long-term marriage is 17 years or longer.
  • What are the financial resources and liabilities of each party?
  • How employable or highly educated is each party? Are both parties employable? And if not, how long would it take either party to gain employable skills.
  • How much did the partner contribute to the marriage? This can include, but isn’t limited to, homemaking, child care, career support, and education.
  • Was adultery a factor, from either party?

Types of Alimony

All of these considerations make for a complex equation for the amount and type of awarded alimony. According to the 2018 Florida Statutes, there are several different types of alimony. Here’s a brief breakdown of the types of  alimony, how they’re awarded, and why:

1. Rehabilitative Alimony

In rehabilitative alimony, the payment goes to a former spouse towards development of new skills. This could either go towards redeveloping previous skills and education, or gaining new ones. For example, a Registered Nurse, out of work for years due to child-raising or homemaking, could have the chance,  to take up-to-date certification courses as necessary to re-enter the workplace.

With this type of alimony, payment is dependent upon compliance with the plan. In other words, courts can terminate alimony if the awarded party doesn’t actually complete or pursue these educational or work-related goals.

2. Durational Alimony

In durational alimony, the awarded party is given alimony for a set period of time. In most cases, this depends on the length of the marriage as outlined above. This is because the length of durational alimony cannot exceed the length of the original marriage. If the awarded party gets remarried, the alimony payments will stop. If either parties die, the payments stop.

3. Temporary Alimony

Occasionally, one spouse needs financial help before the divorce is finalized. This is where temporary alimony comes in.

4. Permanent Alimony

If one party cannot meet the necessities of life after the marriage ends, they may be awarded permanent alimony. In this case, it must be shown that the awarded party will not be able to meet their needs after the marriage ends. Although it’s more “permanent” than durational or rehabilitative alimony, courts retain the right to terminate even permanent alimony if the awarded party experiences a drastic financial change of circumstances after the award.

5. Bridge-the-Gap or Transitional Alimony

In the case of bridge-the-gap alimony, one party will receive payments from the other as they make the transition from married to single life. Basically, this is a short-term alimony deal that is really aimed at getting one party back on their feet after the dissolution of the marriage. This cannot exceed 2 years of payment. The awarded party needs to have “identifiable needs” that the alimony would cover as they start over in their new life. Aside from the potential deaths of either party, bridge-the-gap alimony cannot be altered in duration.

6. Lump Sum Alimony

This type of alimony is exactly what it sounds: one spouse is awarded a lump sum from another. This can offer occur in the form of property that’s sold or divided after the divorce.

Facing Divorce? Contact Ronald M. Zakarin Today

If you’re struggling to understand the in’s and out’s of alimony and you’re looking for an experienced legal team to help you navigate this difficult time, feel free to contact us. Here at the Law Offices of Ronald M. Zakarin in Boca Raton, we help you face questions of alimony with dignity and professionalism at every turn.