How Can I Qualify for Alimony in Florida?
A common fear among individuals going through a divorce is the financial instability that may occur. However, implemented into many divorce proceedings is an award of financial support also known as alimony. Alimony’s sole purpose is to provide financial support to a party to allow them to survive and gain independence. Overall, the court must make a factual finding that a party has an actual need for alimony, and the opposite party has the ability to pay. 61.08(2) In order to present the necessary requirements to the court, employ the help of your Orlando Divorce Attorney.
When determining if you qualify for alimony it is important to note the distinctions between the different types of alimony awards. There are five distinct types of alimony awards: temporary, bridge the gap, rehabilitative, durational, permanent. Each award has different qualities and are awarded only when certain evidence has been presented to a court.
Temporary alimony, also known as pendente lite, is the only type awarded during the pendency of the divorce. This alimony can aid in the costs of the divorce or day to day expenses of the party during this uncertain time. This award will end upon the termination of the divorce. However, can be replaced with the other forms of alimony.
Bridge the gap alimony is awarded to assist a spouse in the transition from being married to being single. The court must identify the party in need has legitimate short-term needs. Therefore, the award does not exceed 2 years. 61.08(5)
If a party is in need of financial support in order to gain self-reliance, rehabilitative alimony may be awarded. Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to provide the time for redevelopment of skills or credentials, and acquire education and training. Along with the award, the court will provide a rehabilitative plan that the party must follow. The award will exist as long as the plan is adhered to and completed. 61.08(6)
Durational alimony is awarded only when permanent alimony is inappropriate. “The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis.” 61.08(7) This award may not exceed the length of the marriage.
Permanent alimony is only appropriate in cases where a party in incapable of meeting their financial needs that were established during the marriage and no other award is appropriate. Permanent is typically only awarded in cases of marriages of long duration. However, may be awarded in cases of moderate term marriages where the court finds clear and convincing evidence of such need and in cases of short-term marriages if exceptional circumstances exist. 61.08(8)
In cases of permanent alimony, it is important to note the different standards required by the court. The height of the scrutiny is dependent upon the length of your marriage. Florida statute provides a rebuttable presumption that a marriage of less than 7 years is defined as short term; a marriage between 7 and 17 years is moderate term, and finally a marriage lasting over 17 years is long term. The length of marriage is measured upon the date of marriage until the date of filing of the initial petition for dissolution 61.08(4)
After finding a need exists, and a party has the ability to pay, the court will consider a myriad of other factors that may qualify a party for an alimony award. These factors include:
(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.
(b) The duration of the marriage.
(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
(d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
(e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
(f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
(h) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.
(i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
(j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
It is clear the court has a multitude of factors to consider, providing a party with many options to qualify for an alimony award. It is important to discuss these qualifications with your Orlando Divorce Attorney and allow them to discuss your specific situation with you. If you are facing a divorce and seeking alimony, contact a knowledgeable Orlando Divorce Attorney who can guide you through the process.
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