Florida Spousal Support or Alimony Laws
Alimony or "spousal support" is a type of payment that may be ordered for one spouse to pay to the other after a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to alleviate any unfair economic burdens that may befall the lower-wage-earning spouse or the non-wage-earning spouse after a divorce takes place.
In Florida, alimony is determined after the court has equitably distributed the couple's assets and liabilities. Once that division is made, the court will delve into determining whether alimony ought to be paid, by whom and to whom, and what amount, if any. Spousal support can be granted to either the husband or the wife. FindLaw also provides state-specific links to alimony court forms and instructions.
Spousal Support Agreements
Alimony may also be agreed upon by the spouses. This is possible if the spouses are agreeing upon the terms of their divorce and are able to come up with an alimony payment that would suit both parties' needs. However, it is important to ensure that, even if the parties agree upon alimony, the agreement is presented to the court and made an official part of the court's order.
If this does not happen, it may be difficult to enforce the alimony payments if the paying spouse stops payments in the future. Enforcing an alimony payment against your spouse may require the recipient to file a claim in court and can be a costly process.
Factors in Spousal Support / Alimony Determinations
The court will take various factors into consideration when determining an alimony award. These factors are:
- The parties' prior standard of living;
- Length of the marriage;
- Physical and emotional condition of both spouses;
- Financial resources of each spouse;
- Income-earning capacity of each spouse;
- Income-producing capacity of the assets each spouse receives;
- The time necessary to acquire education or training for appropriate employment;
- Services rendered by homemaking, child rearing and education and career building of the other spouse.
Also, although Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to divorces, the spouses' fault, or lack thereof, may be assessed or factored into the court's decision when awarding alimony.
Types of Alimony in Florida
Finally, there are various types of alimony that may be awarded depending on the circumstances of your case. The following are types of alimony awarded in Florida:
- Rehabilitative Alimony: This kind of alimony may be awarded for a limited time and is used for the purpose of assisting in the redevelopment of skills and financial independence of the payee spouse. This is usually paid monthly or semi-monthly.
- Bridge-the-Gap Alimony: This kind of alimony allows a party to make the transition from married to single life and it may be used for things such as buying a car or finding a place to live. This is usually paid as a lump sum or over a very short period of time.
- Permanent Alimony: This kind of alimony continues monthly or semi-monthly until the payee spouse remarries or dies.
- Durational Alimony: This kind of alimony is awarded only for a certain period of time. It is usually paid monthly or semi-monthly.
- Lump-Sum Alimony: This kind of alimony is paid as one lump sum of either money or property.
Payments of alimony are made through depositories which use the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) to relay the money to the payee spouse. This prevents there from having to be any direct contact between the spouses for purposes of payment after their divorce.
Consider speaking with a Florida divorce lawyer if you have questions about Florida spousal support or alimony laws.
Florida Spousal Support Related Resources
- Alimony Guidelines: What Records to Keep Regarding Your Alimony
- How to Avoid Alimony Monthly Payment Programs
- Alimony and Taxes
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