One of the most significant subjects in family law is that of spousal support payments – known as alimony. When a couple divorces, one party may be required to make monthly payments to the other party to maintain the level of financial security they had when they were married.
Judges can reduce or terminate payments by considering certain factors, such as a person’s health, the age that people in their profession customarily retire, and the impact a reduction of payment would have on their ex-spouse. A Coral Way alimony lawyer can provide clarity on how alimony determinations will affect you.
Forms of Alimony
SB 1416 amended the alimony law in Florida. Durational alimony, which replaces the permanent form, is available only if the couple has been married for at least three years. The amount and duration are based on formulas and depend on how long a couple was married.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is available for those married who were married a short time and when one spouse needs a little help to become self-sufficient. It is only granted for up to two years.
Rehabilitative alimony is similar to bridge-the-gap, but its duration is based on an individual plan sanctioned by the court that allows the receiving party time to train or become educated for a particular profession. Once the plan is complete, the alimony ceases, although it automatically ends after five years under the new law. A Coral Way alimony attorney can explain which form of support will be relevant to a person’s case.
Determining if Alimony is Necessary
When one spouse in a divorce seeks spousal maintenance, SB 1416 is also clear that the seeking spouse must prove they need it and that the other party has the ability to pay. A Judge considers, among other things:
- The couple’s lifestyle prior to the divorce;
- Either party’s mental health issues;
- If the spouse asking for alimony is able to obtain the skills necessary for self-support;
- The economic repercussions caused by one spouse’s adultery, if applicable.
Alimony is one of the last connections a divorcing couple will have, especially if they do not have children together. It should be fair to both parties, so it is important for a Coral Way alimony attorney to become involved.
How Long and How Much Durational Alimony?
Durational alimony depends on how long a couple stayed together. Alimony in marriages of less than 10 years lasts no longer than 50 percent of the years married. For a 10-to-20-year marriage, the alimony expires at 60 percent of the years married.
After 20 or more years of marriage, a receiving spouse can collect alimony for years that equate to 75 percent of the years they were married. The court can consider exceptional circumstances in some cases.
The court can award durational alimony in accordance with the recipient’s reasonable needs (although the law does not define “reasonable”), but awards are capped at 35 percent of the difference between the ex-spouse’s net income using the same formula codified for child support under Fla. Stat. 61.30. A spouse who chooses not to work or to work at a low-paying job so they will be granted more alimony will find this does not work under the updated law.
Ask a Coral Way Alimony Attorney for Help Today
Permanent alimony is no longer available in Florida and the way these payments are calculated have also changed in an attempt to make it more fair to all parties involved. Yet the system can still be complex, so you need to understand your rights and how the law affects you. Contact a Coral Way alimony lawyer from The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm for a free case evaluation to discuss what you should do next.