As part of the divorce process, one spouse may petition the court to be awarded spousal support or alimony. This is the payment of money from one spouse, usually the higher-earning spouse, to the other spouse for a time specified in the court order.
If you are wanting to request alimony or you want to challenge your spouse’s request for it, it is important that you have a clear understanding of alimony laws in Florida.
When Alimony Is Awarded
Alimony is not awarded automatically. Additionally, there is not a specific mathematical formula or guideline used to determine the amount of spousal support like there is for child support. The court has wide discretion in determining whether to award alimony and all aspects of the alimony award.
Alimony is intended to prevent a divorced spouse from becoming impoverished. Alimony helps to maintain the standard of living for both spouses. A spouse can petition the court for alimony. It considers the following factors when determining whether to award alimony or not:
- The ability of the obligated spouse to pay support
- The need for support
- The duration of the marriage
- The income of each spouse
- The age and health of each spouse
- The financial resources of each spouse
- The earning ability, education level, job skills and employability of the spouses
- The contribution of each spouse to the marriage
- The standard of living established during the marriage
Types of Alimony in Pinellas County
The court has the discretion to order the following types of alimony:
- Permanent: Permanent alimony may be ordered in long-term marriages. Alimony payments continue to be paid until the recipient spouse remarries or either spouse dies.
- Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative alimony provides financial support to a spouse while he or she takes action to become more self-sufficient. A party seeking this type of alimony has the burden of showing what the plan is for self-sufficiency, what this plan costs, and the need for financial support during this time.
- Durational: the durational spouse provides spousal support for a specified period of time. It is awarded more often in short or moderate-duration marriages.
- Bridge-the-Gap: This type of alimony provides financial assistance for less than years to help the spouse transition from married to single life and for short-term needs.
- Lump-Sum: Lump-sum alimony is the payment of support at one time or in larger installments.
- Nominal: Nominal alimony is awarded when a spouse is entitled to alimony but there are insufficient resources to make a larger award.
Contact The Law Offices Of Tara J. Scott
If you would like more information about alimony laws in Florida and how they may apply to your case, contact Tara J. Scott. She can discuss your particular circumstances and options regarding issues involved in alimony and your divorce. She provides diligent and professional legal representation to all clients and will explore all amicable options in determining alimony. However, she also does not hesitate to try your case in front of a family court judge if this is necessary to protect your interests.