Alimony is not a given in the State of Florida. Unlike child support during a divorce, there is no law that states a man or woman is required to pay or receive alimony to or from their spouse. However, it’s possible a man or woman could file for alimony and be awarded this monthly stipend from a judge. Florida law allows this depending on the length of a marriage. It’s unlikely anyone married fewer than five years will be awarded alimony. A marriage that’s older than five but younger than 10 years might be awarded alimony, and anyone ending a marriage older than 17 years is almost guaranteed alimony.
What is Alimony?
If a couple in Florida decides they no longer want to remain married, one spouse might ask for alimony from the other. This typically occurs when the spouse who earns less asks for alimony. It’s not uncommon for a stay-at-home parent or someone who doesn’t have a professional degree to ask for this from a spouse who makes more money.
If a court decides to award one spouse alimony payments, it’s done according to a specific standard of living. The court looks at the life this spouse lived prior to the divorce and bases their decision on this information. There is a stipulation to this instance, however. The person who is awarded this money does not get it forever. The court will come up with an end-date so the other spouse is free from paying alimony forever. Some of the common terms that end alimony payments include, but are not limited, to the following:
– The person receiving alimony remarries
– The person receiving alimony graduates college or trade school and goes to work
– The person receiving alimony is able to get back on his or her feet following the divorce
The only time the court will not allow alimony in Florida is when the purpose is to punish an ex for the sole purpose of financial pain. A person who cannot afford to pay alimony will not be required to do so, and someone who doesn’t need alimony will not be awarded this kind of financial payment even if they want it.
Types of Alimony
Florida law recognizes several types of alimony.
– Temporary – When payments end when the divorce is finalized.
– Rehabilitative – When one spouse needs time to finish a degree or go through training to return to a previous career or begin a new one.
– Bridge-the-gap – When one person needs money for a short time to get back on his or her feet.
– Durational – When bridge-the-gap is not enough and alimony payments are extended.
– Permanent – When alimony is paid until the person receiving it dies or gets married.
No court will award alimony to anyone not married long enough, not financially able to support it, or when one person simply doesn’t need the income. It’s personal, and no two cases are the same. There are many factors court consider in this situation, and an attorney can help anyone figure out whether they might be entitled to or required to pay alimony.