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Am I Eligible For Alimony? How Are Spousal Support Payments Decided in Florida?

If you are going through a divorce, you might be wondering if you are eligible for alimony payments from your spouse or not. In Florida, the type of alimony and the amount of your payment can vary. Florida divorce courts have many conditions to consider when making their rulings. First, you will have to request alimony in writing before the final petition hearing or else it will be automatically denied. Once you’ve submitted your official request, here are the considerations courts will use to determine your eligibility.

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The Length of Marriage

In Florida, the law categorizes marriages into different lengths. This will be used as a major point of consideration when determining your eligibility for alimony payments. Here is how the categories break down:

  • Short term — a marriage fewer than 7 years long
  • Moderate term — a marriage between 7 and 17 years long
  • Long term — a marriage more than 17 years long

Depending on the categorization of your marriage before the initial filing for divorce, you may be eligible for different types of alimony payments. Generally speaking, the longer your marriage and the more reliant you are on the established financial situation of your marriage, the more likely you are to get longer or higher alimony payments.

Financial Circumstances

The other major point of consideration is the total financial circumstance of each spouse and the impact that being divorced will have on them. One of the parties in the marriage might have been a homemaker who raised the kids, kept the house clean, made food for everyone, or supported in the education and career building of the other spouse. Here are other financial circumstances that are considered:

  • The standard of living that each party had together during the marriage
  • Marital and non-martial financial resources available to each party that will be distributed to each as a result of the divorce
  • The current and future earning capabilities due to current career paths as well as the education, training, and work experience of each party
  • All sources of income that each party has including through work or investments
  • The tax implications for both parties if alimony is awarded

The court will also consider things such as if one party will have more custody of any children and will need financial support to raise them. Florida does not force any party of a divorce to make alimony payments if they cannot afford to do so.

Types of Alimony

There are four different types of alimony payments in the state of Florida, that the court may grant to one of the former spouses. This is decided and awarded based on the factors mentioned above, but again main considerations are the length of the marriage and the financial circumstances of each party. Here are the four types of alimony that can be awarded:

  • Bridge-The-Gap —awarded after short-term marriages, lasts a maximum of two years, and is meant to help the party transition from being married to being single
  • Rehabilitative — awarded after any marriage length, lasts as long as it takes to help the spouse acquire training, education, or work experience required to become financially self-sufficient
  • Durational — awarded after short or moderate-term marriages, cannot last longer than the marriage itself, and is meant to provide general financial assistance
  • Permanent — mostly awarded after long-term marriages, meant provide help for a spouse that does not have the financial means to meet the standard of living established in their marriage

In the case of bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative and permanent alimony, each of these types will end upon the death of either party or remarriage of the receiver. At that point, the financial needs are the responsibility of the new spouse.

Do you still have questions about your petition for alimony? Contact an experienced divorce lawyer today to get the answers you need to file your petition. Call the law office of Quinn Law Firm, P.A. to discuss your situation.

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