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Miami Attorney Helping People Protect Their Interests in Divorce Actions

The decision to end a marriage not only impacts people on an emotional level but also can have a significant effect on their financial well-being. As such, in many divorce actions one party will seek alimony, which is monetary support paid from one spouse to another, either during or after divorce proceedings. While there are several different kinds of alimony, in the most general sense, alimony is paid from one party to another to maintain the standard of living the receiving spouse became accustomed to during the marriage. If you are considering filing for a divorce, contact Sandy T. Fox, a Miami family law attorney who is also a Florida Bar Board-certified specialist in Florida Marital & Family Law, for guidance.

Is Alimony Always Available?

Alimony payments are not a part of every divorce decree. In order for a judge to award alimony payments to a spouse, that spouse must show that there is a need for alimony and that the paying spouse has the ability to make the alimony payments. A spouse can prove there is a need by showing that they will not be able to achieve their former standard of living after considering income, as well as any proceeds from the equitable distribution of the marital assets.

Determining Alimony Support Payments in Florida

Once a judge decides that alimony payments are appropriate under Florida law, the judge will consider the following factors when determining the amount of alimony:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The adultery of either spouse;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The age, as well as physical and emotional condition of the parties;
  • The financial resources and income of the parties;
  • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, employability of the parties, and the time necessary to acquire education or training;
  • Each party’s contribution to the marriage, including financial support and services;
  • Each party’s responsibilities with the minor children; and
  • Any other factor necessary for justice and equity between the parties.

Under Florida law, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is less than 10 years, a moderate-term marriage is longer than 10 years but less than 20 years, and a long-term marriage is more than 20 years.

Types of Alimony Payments in Florida Divorces

There are several types of alimony payments in Florida. It is within the court’s discretion to award no alimony or to make an award combining different categories of alimony.

  • Temporary: Temporary alimony is paid while a divorce is pending.
  • Rehabilitative: This kind of alimony provides the recipient with resources to ultimately become self-sufficient by developing skills or assisting them in acquiring training, education, or professional experience. To receive rehabilitative alimony, the recipient must establish a specific rehabilitative plan that shows the court how the party plans to use the alimony to become self-sufficient. Rehabilitative alimony will be granted for a maximum of five years.
  • Bridge-the-Gap: Generally awarded in short-term marriages, bridge-the-gap alimony only lasts a relatively short time and is designed to allow the recipient to adjust to single life. It is awarded for a maximum of two years.
  • Durational: Durational alimony is awarded in short or moderate-term marriages to provide the recipient with financial assistance during a predefined time period; it cannot be awarded in marriages lasting less than three years, however. Though the level of durational alimony can be changed or terminated, the length cannot be modified unless exceptional circumstances are present. The length of the award may not be greater than the length of the marriage.
Are You Considering Filing for Divorce in Florida?

If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Florida, or have filed for divorce and are facing alimony questions, contact Sandy T. Fox, an experienced South Florida family law lawyer. Mr. Fox is a Florida Bar Board certified expert in Marital & Family Law, and has the dedication and knowledge required to represent you in your divorce proceedings. Contact the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., for a confidential consultation at 800.596.0579, or contact us online.