If you are considering a divorce, or in the midst of one, chances are the issue of alimony (or spousal support as it is sometimes known) has crossed your mind. The purpose of it is to provide the financially weaker spouse some assistance and the duration of it depends on several varying factors. At the Virga Law Firm, P.A., we have worked with a wide variety of clients facing issues regarding alimony, so we understand the contentious nature of this aspect in divorce. Here is what you need to know about how alimony works in Florida.
How is Alimony Determined?
Unlike other financial matters in divorce, alimony does not have a mathematical formula used for calculations. Instead, the amount and type are both determined by one’s individual situation and often depends on the judge who is on the case. It is not unusual for judges to have drastically differing opinions, resulting in different orders. However, there are certain guidelines the court must follow when determining whether or not to award alimony and how much. In Florida, these guidelines include:
- The standard of living enjoyed throughout the duration of the marriage
- The length of the marriage
- The age, health, and emotional condition of each spouse
- The financial resources of each spouse, including non-marital and marital assets as well as liabilities distributed to each party
- If applicable, the time necessary for either spouse to acquire either education or training to obtain appropriate employment
- Each party’s contribution to the marriage, including services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and contributions made to the career of either spouse
- Each spouse’s sources of income
- Any other factor that might be relevant to determining alimony
Types of Alimony Awarded
Not only is there no standard amount of alimony, but there are also varying types of alimony a judge can award.
Permanent Periodic Alimony
Two of the most important factors in determining permanent alimony are the length of the marriage and disparity in income between spouses. This form of alimony will continue until after the death of either party or if the recipient remarries. It is also possible for the law to allow modification or termination of alimony if the recipient spouse cohabitates with someone else in a financially supportive relationship. In cases where a marriage lasted less than 7 years, alimony is not likely unless there are unusual circumstances involving health or disability that prevents a spouse from obtaining employment. Generally, permanent alimony is only awarded in a marriage of 15 years, though it ultimately depends on the facts of a specific case.
Lump Sum Alimony
Alimony is not always paid periodically. It is possible for alimony payments to be made in one large lump sum, which is often done in cases when ongoing monthly payments are not practical or appropriate.
Alimony might also be awarded to last for a specific timeframe, long enough to allow a spouse to become self-sufficient by obtaining the education or training needed to obtain new employment skills. It is possible for an individual to be awarded both rehabilitative alimony and permanent alimony or lump sum alimony. It is also often awarded to in short-term marriages that involve a spouse who stayed at home to care for children and requires training or education to join the workforce.
Bridge Gap Alimony
This can last anywhere from a few months to a couple of years and is intended to assist an individual in transitioning from married life to being single and establishing a new residence or obtaining a job.
Temporary alimony is awarded to last throughout the duration of a divorce, ending upon its resolution.
As you can see, there is a multitude of options when it comes to how a judge can render a decision in your divorce case, all of which largely depends on the circumstances of your case.
Contact The Virga Law Firm, P.A.
Whether your case ends up in litigation or you are able to reach an agreement with your ex in mediation, it is important to have a skilled attorney representing you throughout your divorce proceedings. Whether your spouse refuses to pay you alimony or you feel you are entitled to more, you will require a fierce and experienced legal advocate on your side to help you reach a positive resolution and protect your best interests.
Conversely, if you are fighting against an unjust alimony claim, are attorneys are also here to help and can assist you in putting together an argument that shows exactly why you should not have to make such payments.
At Virga Law Firm, P.A., we have worked with a wide range of clients, from all walks of life, facing alimony issues. Throughout the years during which we have been in practice, we earned a reputation for our dedication to excellence and our history of obtaining optimum results in family law cases.
If you would like to make an appointment to meet with an attorney at our office, contact us at (800) 822-5170 for a case consultation.