Will I Have to Pay Alimony?

People often have questions about alimony. There is a common misconception that only the husband pays alimony. In Florida, alimony is based on one spouse’s ability to pay alimony and the other spouse’s need for alimony.  Stated another way, the party seeking alimony must prove they have a financial need and their spouse has the financial means to meet those needs. However, what’s equally as important is the length of the marriage.

Marriages are characterized as short, moderate or long terms. A short-term marriage is a marriage that lasts for less than 7 years. A moderate-term marriage is a marriage that lasts for at least 7 years, but less than 17 years. A long-term marriage is a marriage that lasts for 17 or more years. Although there are no strict guidelines on alimony in Florida, the length of your married will be indicative of an award of alimony. The possibility of receiving certain forms of alimony in a marriage that lasts less than 2 or 3 years is considerably more unlikely than that of a marriage lasting 7 or more.

There are 4 types of alimony in Florida: (1) Bridge-The-Gap alimony; (2) Rehabilitative alimony; (3) Durational alimony; and (4) Permanent alimony. The court is permitted to award multiple forms of alimony.

Bridge-the-Gap alimony is an award of alimony intended to assist a spouse with adjusting from married life, which often involves shared expenses, back to single life. An award of this form of alimony typically involves allocation of funds necessary to cover identifiable expenses associated with transitioning into a life without a partner. This form of alimony cannot be awarded for longer than 2 years.

Rehabilitative alimony is an award of alimony intended to get the spouse to a position where he or she can cover expenses without assistance. This award of alimony typically involves financial assistance with completion of an educational program or vocational training necessary to acquire adequate employment. The award will include a specific plan for rehabilitation and does not terminate upon the death of the paying spouse or the remarriage of the receiving spouse.

Durational alimony is an award of alimony intended to assist a spouse when other types of alimony are not applicable to the couple’s circumstances. This award of alimony is set at a specific amount to be paid over a specified time period that will not exceed the length of the marriage. This form of alimony is often awarded in short or moderate-term marriages.

Permanent alimony is an award of alimony intended to assist a spouse who does not have the ability to achieve the financial standard established by the marriage as it relates to the ordinary way of living that the spouse has grown accustomed to. This award of alimony is based on a subjective standard and is usually only awarded in moderate and long-term marriages.

When determining whether you are entitled to pay or receive alimony, it is important to consult a Florida Family Law attorney to learn whether the circumstances of your marriage meet the standards set by Florida law. If you have a question regarding alimony or other family matter in Florida, contact our experienced Florida  Divorce Lawyers at Mosaic Law Firm.

Author Bio

Orlando Sheppard

Orlando Sheppard is a Co-Founder and Partner of Purely Legal, a multi-state personal injury law firm serving clients in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. He handles a wide range of personal injury matters, including car accidents, bike accidents, dog bites, premise liability, slip and falls, and wrongful death.

Orlando received his Juris Doctor from Florida A&M University College of Law and is a member of the Florida Bar, the Maryland State Bar Association, and the Orange County Bar Association.

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