Alimony and Spousal Support

Alimony and Spousal Support Attorney Serving West Palm beach Area

Alimony is often a source of contention in divorce, because the spouse who has to pay the alimony may believe the amount is too high, or the spouse receiving the alimony may believe the amount is insufficient. The original idea behind alimony was to ensure that one spouse was not left at a significant disadvantage after the termination of a marriage, and that usually applied to women, who in the past were less likely to earn the same wage as their husbands.

But in modern times, it is becoming more common for judges to order a woman to pay alimony to a man in a divorce, and this speaks to the growing equality in pay between women and men. Issues involving spousal support are complex, and without an experienced family lawyer, you may make a mistake that will cost you for years to come.

What Factors Does a Judge Use to Determine Alimony In Florida?

The state of Florida does not have a formula that judges can use to determine the amount of alimony that one former spouse should pay another. As a result, judges must take into account a number of different factors, which include:

  • How long was the couple married? – the longer the marriage lasted, the more likely that one spouse will have to pay alimony, because in a long-lasting marriage there is a higher likelihood of obtaining advanced degrees and achieving promotions at work.
  • What was the standard of living? – this takes into account things, such as the number and types of vacations that a couple took, and the value of a couple’s possessions, including their home or homes.
  • What is the age and physical condition of each spouse? – if one spouse is in poor health, this could influence the awarding of alimony.
  • What is the income level and assets of each spouse? – this can include real estate ventures and stock market investments.
  • What is each spouse’s future income potential? – if both spouses have advanced degrees, then a judge may not be as willing to award alimony, believing that they are both capable of earning a living in the future.
  • What contribution did each spouse make to the marriage? – did one spouse sacrifice to allow the other spouse to earn a college degree, or stay home to take care of children, or agree to move to another state due to the other spouse’s job relocation?

Common Types of Alimony Support Judges Can Grant in Florida

If you are awaiting the determination of alimony in a divorce, you should be aware that judges in Florida can award several types of spousal support, including:

  • Lump-Sum Alimony – one-time monetary or property payment that a judge can order when making installment alimony payments is not possible.
  • Temporary Alimony – paid to ensure that one spouse can cover household expenses until the divorce is finalized.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony – paid only until one spouse has the financial means to support themselves. It is typically awarded in marriages that did not last a long time, and ensures that one spouse has enough time to complete education or work training that will create financial self-sufficiency. The spouse receiving this type of alimony must create a rehabilitative plan that the court approves.
  • Durational Alimony – paid only for a specified period of time. The support cannot last longer than the marriage, which is why this alimony is usually approved in cases in which a marriage lasted a short time.
  • Bridge the Gap Alimony – paid for a maximum of two years to help a spouse transition into a single-earner’s life.
  • Permanent Alimony – paid until the receiving spouse dies or remarries. This is usually awarded in long-term marriages, which in Florida is defined as any marriage that exceeded 17 years.

Helping You Through a Difficult Time

If you have filed for divorce, please call an experienced family law attorney, Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. at 561-655-8844, for your personalizedlegal consultation. We know how to help you navigate through the difficulties of a divorce, and to ensure that alimony payments are fair and just.