Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a type of financial support paid from one spouse to the other in a divorce and is available regardless of your income bracket. The purpose of alimony is to help the spouse with the lesser salary more easily transition to life post-divorce. It can be paid monthly, semi-monthly, in a lump sum, or an ongoing or temporary basis.
Once a divorcing couple’s assets and liabilities have been identified and distributed, the court will determine whether alimony should be paid, and then what amount should be paid. Even if spouses come to their own agreement on terms, the agreement should be presented to the court and be made a part of the divorce decree.
How Florida courts decide to award alimony
To determine whether alimony is appropriate, the court considers the following factors:
- The standard of living the couple enjoyed prior to the divorce
- The fault (or lack thereof) of each spouse that resulted in the divorce
- How long the parties were married
- The age of each spouse
- The physical and emotional health and well-being of each spouse
- Financial resources available to both
- Each spouse’s income-earning capacity
- Whether the assets divided between the spouses will create income
- The length of time it would take for the requesting spouse to receive the education or job training needed to find employment
- Services rendered by the requesting spouse that benefited the family as a whole, such as child-rearing and homemaking, as well as support for the education and career advancement of the other spouse.
The five types of alimony in Florida
There are five types of alimony in Florida:
- Rehabilitative: This type of alimony is designed to help the lesser-earning spouse obtain the skills and education needed to become self-supportive and is only available on a temporary basis.
- Permanent: This type of alimony is ongoing and ends only when the recipient passes away or remarries.
- Bridge-the-gap: A type of transitional support paid as a lump sum or for a brief duration that helps the recipient get established by purchasing necessities such as a new home or car.
- Durational: Alimony that is paid for a set period of time that cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
- Lump sum: This type of support is given as a one-time payment in the form of property or money, and typically can’t be terminated or changed once awarded.
Florida family lawyers specializing in alimony and spousal support
At Makofka & Makofka, we understand that alimony is a way for you to get back on your feet and start your new beginning post-divorce. That’s why our family law attorneys help our clients obtain the full amount of alimony that they are entitled to under Florida law and ensure that the spousal support given is adequate for their needs. If you are a Florida resident living in Duval, St. Johns, Clay, or Nassau counties, and would like more information about how Makofka & Makofka can help protect your interests, contact us today at (904) 355-2700 for a free initial consultation.