Finances are often one of the top things people may think or worry about during a divorce. If you earned a lower wage than your spouse, or were not working during the marriage, you may be eligible to receive alimony, also known as spousal support.
In Florida, there are five types of alimony, each for different situations. The court takes many factors into consideration when determining alimony amounts or whether someone should receive alimony. These factors include the lifestyle or standard of living someone is used to, the spouse's age and both spouses ' physical and emotional condition, and how long they were married. The court also takes into account things that may determine one's ability to work or financially support him or herself after the divorce. These things include the financial resources of both spouses, the income-earning capacity of each spouse, and the possible income that could be produced by the assets a spouse receives from the divorce (first, a court divides assets and property, and then determines alimony).
If a spouse does not currently have the skills to work, the court also looks at the time it takes to gain education or training in order to work. Another factor taken into consideration is if the spouse provided home-making services or raised the children while the other spouse furthered their education or career.
What are the types of alimony in Florida that are determined by these factors?
The five types of alimony in Florida are:
- Permanent alimony - this alimony is paid to a spouse until that spouse remarries or dies. This may be awarded if the marriage was long, the age of the spouse is at a point where it wouldn't make sense to return to school to build a career, or the current career the spouse holds does not earn enough to maintain the standard of living he or she is used to, and the spouse may have contributed to the household and child rearing so that the other spouse could further their career or obtain education.
- Rehabilitative alimony - this alimony is paid for a limited time and is used to help the spouse gain education, training or develop new skills to be able to work and become financially independent. This is where the age of the spouse may be taken into consideration - if the spouse is young enough to be able to go back to school for example and still build a career in his or her lifetime, this type would make sense.
- Bridge-the-Gap alimony - a lump sum or alimony over a very short period of time that helps the spouse move from married life to single life. It can be used for things like buying a car to be able to live independently, or a deposit or down payment on a new place to live. In this case, the spouse may already be working or have financial means to support him or herself after the divorce, except for needing a few things to be able to live independently.
- Lump-sum alimony - this is a lump-sum that may be used for other things as determined by the court.
- Durational alimony - this alimony is paid over a temporary period of time and is paid monthly or semi-monthly.
Whether or not you or your ex-spouse are awarded alimony can be a complex and unpredictable issue in this day and age. Because it can be hard to predict which way courts will go, it is a good idea to have a family law attorney who is skilled in this area by your side. Financial independence and the ability to regain your life after the divorce is important. Alimony could be a determining factor in your future happiness.