For many people considering a divorce, financial uncertainty causes considerable stress and worry. Will your former spouse support you? How much will they have to pay? For how long? Will you have to support an ex-spouse?
The answers to those questions can be as different as each relationship. There are many factors to consider regarding financial support. Here, we offer some useful information to get you started understanding spousal support, alimony, and maintenance in Florida.
What Is Alimony?
Spousal support, also called alimony or maintenance, is money paid by one spouse to another after a divorce. The purpose of this support is to ensure that a spouse who lacks the financial ability can still meet his or her needs and provide necessities (in the same manner that was experienced during the marriage) following a divorce. It is separate from child support and can be awarded to either spouse. Alimony is typically expected to be paid until the ex-spouse can support him or herself, or until the ex-spouse remarries or dies.
Types of Alimony Agreements in Florida
Every divorce situation is different, and there are many kinds of support arrangements that can be made. The most common types of agreements in Florida include:
- Bridge-the-gap. This kind of support is designed to be a short-term arrangement to provide for specific, identifiable needs of an ex-spouse.
- Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation support is awarded when one spouse needs time to earn the required education or experience to re-enter the workforce. This can mean the ex-spouse attends school, re-trains in a specific field, or gains experience. The dependent spouse must offer a specific plan for their path to self-sufficiency.
- Permanent. This type of support provides support in an ongoing capacity.
- Durational. Durational support offers financial assistance for some set period after a divorce when permanent relief is not appropriate. This could occur in cases of short or moderate length marriages or some other situations.
Obtaining Alimony During a Florida Divorce
To receive alimony, the dependent spouse must show that is necessary and appropriate. In general, support payments are guided by a few general principles, including:
- One spouse has an actual need for alimony payments.
- The other spouse can pay support to the ex-spouse.
- The support will not leave the paying spouse with “significantly less net income than the net income of the recipient”…but there can be exceptions in certain circumstances.
Factors That Affect the Type and Amount of Spousal Support Payments
Finally, many different factors help determine how much support an ex-spouse should pay to a dependent ex-spouse. These factors include:
- Length of the marriage
- The couple's standard of living during the marriage
- Physical and emotional condition of each spouse
- Work of each spouse toward homemaking and child raising.
- Work of each spouse toward the education and career-building of the other spouse.
- Earning capacity of each spouse.
- Tax consequences for each spouse.
- Financial resources of each spouse.
If you are considering a divorce in Florida, you may be entitled to alimony. You may also be wondering if you will have to pay support to your spouse. In either circumstance, it is essential to protect your rights and ensure that your financial future is secure. I am an experienced divorce lawyer and I want to guide you in your divorce. Call me to learn more about your options and to have a no-obligation phone consultation directly with myself.