Understanding Alimony in Florida
Alimony is an equalizing payment made by the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse to aid the lower earning spouse in maintaining the marital lifestyle for a period of time following a divorce. There is no magical formula in calculating alimony and each case is different. The lower income spouse must show that there is a need for alimony and that the higher earning spouse has the ability to pay.
Alimony comes in different shapes and sizes depending on the length of the marriage and the need for support. For purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater. The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.
Temporary alimony is awarded during the divorce proceedings to assist the lower income spouse during the divorce and will terminate at the conclusion of the proceedings.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is a short-term payment that is awarded at the conclusion of a divorce. As the name implies, it is to bridge the lower earning spouse’s income while adjusting to a single lifestyle.
Rehabilitative alimony allows the lower income spouse the opportunity to obtaining education or training that will allow for self-sufficiency. A plan, including the length of the program and cost, will be included in the order granting alimony. A modification may be made by either party based on changes in financial circumstances and or if the receiving spouse does not follow the plan.
Durational alimony is granted mainly in moderate and long-term marriages and is available when other types of alimony is not appropriate for the divorcing couple. A set amount is paid each month for a period that does not exceed the length of the marriage. A modification can be made to the amount based on changes in either spouses’ financial circumstances but the duration of payment is typically non-modifiable.
Permanent alimony is usually awarded in moderate and long-term marriages when the lower earning spouse does not have the ability to achieve the standard of marital lifestyle. Permanent alimony may be modifiable but is dependent upon the language in the order granting alimony.
Many high earning spouses dread paying alimony, want to cut the ties with their soon-to-be former spouse and start a new life after the divorce. There are creative ways to achieve this including a lump-sum payment. This means that instead of paying alimony each month, the paying spouse will make one payment. Both parties and the Judge have to agree to the terms of the lump sum payment.
All divorces are different. Akilah Harris is an experienced family law attorney in Pembroke Pines, Florida and can assist you in your customized divorce and alimony needs.
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