Your spouse may have depended on your income partially or completely during your marriage. While you may have felt fine supporting them when times were good, you might have concerns about doing so as you two divorce. You will want to make sure your spouse can survive on their own. Yet, you may fear that your alimony obligation could diminish your standard of living. By understanding Florida’s alimony laws, you can make sure you reach an agreement that reflects your circumstances.
Types of alimony in Florida
Depending on your spouse’s needs, you will provide them one of four types of alimony. They may need limited financial help until they become self-sufficient. In this case, you may have to provide them bridge-the-gap alimony, which will last for no more than two years. Yet, your spouse might need job training or education to become self-sufficient. If they do, you may have to provide them rehabilitative alimony instead. To receive this type of alimony, though, they must follow the terms of a plan outlining their path toward self-sufficiency. Your spouse’s award could terminate if they fail to adhere to the plan.
If your spouse needs substantial – but not lifelong – financial support once your divorce finalizes, you may have to provide them durational alimony. The length of your obligation, in this case, will not exceed the length of your marriage. And if your spouse depended on your income to meet their needs, or if they have limited earning capability, you may have to provide them permanent alimony.
Factors affecting Florida alimony awards
In Florida, your alimony obligation may depend on the length of your marriage. If your marriage lasted for less than seven years, it qualifies as short term. And state courts are unlikely to make you provide your spouse permanent alimony. Yet, a judge may award them bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative or durational alimony as they see fit. If your marriage lasted between seven and 17 years, it qualifies as moderate-term. And if your marriage lasted for 17 or more years, it qualifies as long-term. In these cases, your spouse could receive permanent alimony – or one of the other three types – as necessary.
Besides the length of your marriage, Florida courts will weigh any other relevant factors when determining your alimony obligation. These considerations may include:
- You and your spouse’s marital and nonmarital financial resources
- The sources of income available to you and your spouse
- You and your spouse’s financial and nonfinancial contributions to your marriage
- Whether you need education or job training to achieve self-sufficiency
- Whether you or your spouse will care for any children you have together
- You and your spouse’s ages and your respective physical and emotional health
Alimony awards have many moving parts and figuring out your obligation will require you to take a holistic look at your marital circumstances. A family law attorney can help you work out an award that reflects your spouse’s needs yet does not put financial pressure on you.