Alimony

Alimony 

Private and Without Litigation
 

Alimony can be a complex and emotional issue. There are no formulas or calculations that are consistently used to make this determination and every judge sees it differently. Therefore, if you are able to work through alimony issues in mediation and only use the court as a last resort, you’ll have more certainty and control over the result.

The purpose of alimony is to help one spouse “maintain the current marital lifestyle”. The court first determines if one spouse has the financial need and if the other spouse has the ability to pay. If so, then the following criteria are included in the evaluation:

  • The standard of living during the marriage.

  • The length of the marriage.*

  • The age, emotional and physical condition of the parties.

  • The parties’ financial resources, including non-marital assets & liabilities.

  • Each party’s earning capacity, employability, educational level and skills, and/or the time needed for either party to gain those skills or training.

  • Marital contributions and responsibilities during the marriage, including consideration of childcare, education, and career building.

  • The responsibility of each party to their children.

  • All sources of income from any source, including investments.

  • Tax consequences under the new tax laws.

  • Additional factors the court deems to be appropriate.

*In considering the length of the marriage, Florida law defines a short-term marriage as less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage as 7-17 years, and a long-term marriage as 17+ years.

There are 5 types of alimony:

  1. Temporary Alimony
    This is limited to financial support while the divorce is pending.

  2. Bridge-The-Gap Alimony
    This type helps the party in need better transition from married to single life.

  3. Rehabilitative Alimony
    This helps the party in need develop or finish developing skills or training in order to get a job. For example, this may be for the time it takes to complete a college degree or complete a training program. There must be a plan of action, including an outline of the amount of money needed to reach the goal. It can be terminated based on a “substantial change in circumstances, non-compliance or completion of the plan.”

  4. Durational Alimony
    This is support for a set period of time. It ends upon the death of either party or remarriage of the receiving party. It cannot exceed the length of the marriage.

  5. Permanent Alimony
    This is the more traditional form of alimony that is intended to support the other spouse forever in order to maintain the lifestyle developed during the marriage. It ends upon the death of either party of remarriage of the receiving party. It can be modified or ended based on a “substantial change in circumstances” or upon the existence of a “supportive relationship.”

 

Alimony can be paid in one lump-sum, but is usually paid in installments.

Modifications

Modifications to alimony awards may be appropriate where you or your ex has had a substantial change of financial circumstances. This may be the loss of a job or a decrease in pay. It may also be where the need has become greater with increased expenses. Any of these may result in an increase or decrease in the payments or the length of time that payments are made. Keep in mind that as with all alimony issues, there are no specific formulas or calculations to apply and the result in court can vary significantly depending on the judge.

(727) 295-5105

222 2nd St. N.

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

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