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Alimony is the payment from one spouse to another spouse either on a temporary or permanent basis. Alimony is intended to allow a spouse to maintain the same type of lifestyle or standard of living that he or she enjoyed during the marriage.

Typically, in short marriages or marriages in which both spouses work, and earn fairly comparable incomes, Alimony will not be an issue. Under such a scenario, absent other extenuating circumstances, it is unlikely the court will award Alimony. On the other hand, in a long-term marriage where mom remained at home, with no marketable skills, who worked to put her husband through a professional career and later stayed at home to raise the children, while her husband advanced his career will be a good candidate for Alimony. However, receipt of Alimony under this example is not a slam dunk. The court reviews each application for Alimony on a case by case basis, and looks at a variety of factors.

How is Alimony determined?

If you and your spouse can agree on an amount of Alimony and the duration of the payments, a court will likely adopt the amount that is agreed upon. However, if you and your spouse disagree about Alimony, the court will decide the amount and duration based upon various factors.

In Florida, courts look at the following factors when deciding whether or not to award Alimony:

  1. First the court will look at need and ability to pay.
  2. If the court finds the need and ability exist, then it will determine the amount and type by considering the following factors:
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age and physical and emotional condition of each party
  • The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and marital assets and liabilities distributed to each
  • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage including, but not limited to services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party
  • The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common
  • The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as nontaxable, nondeductible payment
  • All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party
  • Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

Will a court award me Alimony because my spouse wanted the divorce?

No. It will first look to the need and ability to pay of the parties as delineated above. However, the court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.

What type of Alimony is available?

  • Suit Monies
  • Temporary
  • Permanent Periodic
  • Rehabilitative
  • Durational
  • Bridge the Gap
  • Lump Sum

Are there any circumstances when my Alimony will end?

Yes, there are. Under Florida law, if either party experiences a change of circumstances that are so substantial and continuing as to make the terms of the order requiring Alilmony unconscionable, the court can amend the maintenance award or discontinue it altogether. Unfortunately, this decision is made on a case by case basis, and there is no bright line rule as to when such a change of circumstances is so significant as to trigger an amendment of the order requiring the payment of Alimony.

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Disclaimer: the material provided on this site is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice for particular circumstances. No one should rely on this site in lieu of legal advice provided by a licensed Florida attorney who is experienced in the particular area of law. If you have a legal question, you should contact a Florida lawyer experienced in the appropriate legal area. Florida state laws, statutes, guidelines, administrative rules, and case law are constantly changing, and the author makes no guarantee that the information is currently accurate, although efforts are made to keep the information up-to-date. Furthermore, visiting this site alone does not constitute attorney-client privilege.

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