When a couple decides to divorce, one spouse may want to request spousal support. Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a court ordered payment from one spouse to the other to provide for his or her needs. In Florida, the court may award spousal support to either party.
Spousal support factors
The court may consider several factors in determining whether to award spousal support. First, it will review whether the requesting spouse needs the support and whether the other spouse has the ability to pay it.
Once it finds that those factors are met, it may also consider the standard of living established during the marriage, how long the parties were married, the age, physical and emotional condition of each party, each party’s financial resources, their earning capacities and education, among several others.
Types of spousal support and modification
The court may award spousal support that is durational, permanent, rehabilitative or bridge-the-gap. Durational spousal support is awarded to provide the receiving spouse with economic assistance for a set period of time. Permanent spousal support is awarded where the receiving spouse cannot meet his or her needs following the divorce.
Rehabilitative spousal support is intended to help the receiving spouse while he or she redevelops skills or enrolls in education so that he or she can become self-supporting. Bridge-the-gap spousal support is paid for short-term needs.
The paying spouse may ask the court to modify the spousal support amount. Generally, this happens when there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
An experienced divorce attorney can help parties understand more about spousal support requirements.