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Alimony and Spousal Support

After the dissolution of marriage alimony or spousal support may be one of the continuing obligations one spouse has to the other.  Alimony payments, also known as “maintenance” in Florida, are payments from one spouse to another after a divorce is final, for a set length of time.  Alimony is meant to compensate the receiving spouse for their particular skills or lack of earning potential which is a result of the support or other role played throughout the marriage.  There are many types of alimony and long lists of factors used to consider duration and amount of payments.  Below is a brief overview of the laws governing Alimony in Florida.

Types of Alimony in Florida

There are several different types of alimony in Florida, and they can be awarded under different scenarios.

  • Temporary Alimony – Temporary alimony tends to be awarded while the divorce is pending. This type of alimony, also known as “pedente lite” alimony, helps to support one spouse through the divorce process and ends when the dissolution is final.
  • Bridge the Gap or Rehabilitative Alimony – This type of alimony's purpose is just how it sounds, to bridge the gap between divorce and the time it takes for the receiving spouse to get back up on their feet. This type of support is common when one spouse is receiving vocational training or has gone back to school to further their education and better their earnings expectations.  Usually only awarded for a maximum of two years.
  • Durational Alimony – Durational alimony is typically awarded in all other situations where permanent or rehabilitative alimony wouldn't apply. The decision to award durational alimony is typically based on the length of the marriage, for example if the spouse was not married for a sufficient length of time to collect permanent alimony.
  • Permanent Alimony – Permanent alimony is generally only awarded for long term of moderate length marriages. The point of permanent alimony is to bring a spouse up to a style of living commiserate with their marriage.  The spouse receiving permanent alimony may be unable to maintain this lifestyle on their own due to the support role they took while married, potentially putting their own career and earning capacity on hold to support their spouse.

Factors that Contribute to Amount of Alimony

In the context of divorce proceedings, the parties may either agree to an alimony and support plan, or allow a judge to determine the appropriate amount and duration of any spousal support payments.  In the event the judge must decide, he or she will take a number of factors into consideration.  These may include: monetary resources of each spouse, each spouse's income, availability of the spouse seeking alimony to further their education, standard of living and any minor children as a result of the marriage, just to name a few.

If you have questions regarding your alimony award in the State of Florida, including modification or establishing an alimony plan between parties, contact the Law Offices of Justin McMurray for a free consultation.  One of our attorneys with experience in alimony and spousal support issues will be able to answer your questions regarding your specific situation.

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