Understanding Spousal Support in a Florida Divorce

For many people considering a divorce, financial uncertainty causes considerable stress and worry. Will you be supported by your former spouse? 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 individual 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 different types of support arrangements that can be made. The most common types of agreements in Florida include:

  • Bridge-the-gap. This type of support is designed to be a short-term arrangement to provide for specific, identifiable needs of an ex-spouse.
  • Rehabilitational. Rehabilitational support is awarded when one spouse needs time to earn the required education or experience to re-renter the workforce. This can mean the ex-spouse attends school, re-trains in a specific field, or earns experience hours. 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 of time after a divorce when permanent support is not appropriate. This could occur in cases of short or moderate length marriages or in a number of other situations.

Obtaining Alimony During a Florida Divorce

To obtain 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 has the ability to 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, there are many different factors that 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
  • Age
  • 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 important to protect your rights and ensure that your financial future is secure. Call the experienced divorce lawyers at Martinez-Scanziani & Jimenez Law to learn more about your options and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.