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What Factors Influence Alimony Awards in Florida?

Florida Divorce AttorneyAfter your divorce has been started, courts will typically evaluate whether or not the higher earner needs to assist the lower earner with maintaining the marital lifestyle for at least a period of time after a divorce.

In some rare situations, the judge may even determine that it is in the best interests of both parties for the higher wage earner to support the lower wage earner for the long term.

A divorce lawyer in Florida can help you determine whether you can apply for temporary relief.

Can We Decide Alimony on Our Own?

Bear in mind that spousal support awards in Florida do not always have to be handed down directly by a judge. For example, spouses can work together to agree on the conditions and terms of alimony, including deciding whether to give up arguments for alimony at all.

This is usually done in situations where another valuable piece of property may be up for grabs and both parties can agree to drop any alimony requests in exchange. There are several different types of alimony in Florida.

Alimony Types

The primary alimony types available in Florida include:

  • Rehabilitative alimony
  • Temporary alimony
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony
  • Durational alimony
  • Permanent alimony

How Are Alimony Awards Determined by a Judge?

Rehabilitative alimony is assigned by the judge in order to assist the recipient in getting the training or education necessary in order for him or her to find a job.

In order to have rehabilitative alimony accepted, the spouse requesting to receive it needs to submit a clear plan about the time and money investment that would be required in order to achieve it.

Temporary alimony is usually awarded while a divorce is still pending in the Florida courts, in situations where one spouse still needs financial support.

Usually this award ends immediately once the divorce becomes final. Bridge-the-gap alimony is a short term spousal support award that can last no longer than two years.

The purpose is to help provide expenses like living costs while the recipient spouse is waiting for some other asset in the division of property award such as the marital home to be sold.

The recipient spouse might also be completing an educational or retraining program in order to improve his or her employment prospects, this qualifying him or her to receive bridge-the-gap alimony.

Durational alimony may be awarded if any of the other types are not appropriate for meeting a spouse's needs. The maximum term for a durational alimony award in Florida is dependent on the length of the marriage.

For example, if you were married for five years, then you might be eligible to receive durational alimony for up to five years. Permanent alimony may be awarded at the judge's discretion but the judge must determine that any other type of alimony would not be enough based on the facts of the case.

This would usually be awarded in situations where the recipient spouse would be unable to become self-supporting.

Factors Considered in Determining Spousal Support

Not every case will have spousal support awarded. The court must determine two factors - whether there is a need for alimony to begin with and whether or not the other spouse has the ability to pay.

Some of the factors a judge might consider in determining an alimony award include:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The marital standard of living enjoyed by both spouses
  • Any expenses or time required by the spouse requesting spousal support to receive training or education in order to improve employment prospects
  • The responsibilities that either spouse may have as it relates to minor children shared by both spouses
  • All sources of income for each spouse
  • The educational history and earning capacity for each spouse
  • The financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, including any marital property awards

Speak with an Experienced Florida Divorce Attorney

If you are seeking spousal support, it is important to meet with an experienced Coral Gables family law attorney first. Since alimony can be confusing and complex, working with an attorney who understands how this procedure works in Florida who can protect your rights can be extremely valuable.

Do not hesitate to reach out to a Florida divorce attorney to learn more.

Guard against financial mistakes in divorce- learn more by reading this blog: to Protect Yourself Financially When Filing for Divorce

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