Alimony, also known as spousal support, refers to financial payments made by one former spouse to the other following a divorce or separation. Its traditional purpose is to help ensure that the spouse who is financially dependent or disadvantaged can maintain a reasonable living standard after the marriage ends. However, in modern marriages, spousal support is often just a common-sense approach to property division concerns.
Several types of alimony may be awarded based on the specific circumstances of the divorcing couple. These include:
- Bridge-the-Gap Alimony: This type of alimony aims to assist a spouse in transitioning from married life to being single. It is typically short-term and provides support for up to two years.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to a spouse who requires financial support to acquire the necessary skills or education to become self-supporting. The recipient must present a specific plan outlining their steps to achieve self-sufficiency.
- Durational Alimony: This type of alimony provides financial assistance for a set period, which cannot exceed the duration of the marriage. It is often awarded when permanent alimony is deemed unnecessary, but some financial support is still required.
- Permanent Alimony: Permanent alimony is awarded in long-term marriages where one spouse is unlikely to become self-supporting due to age, health or other factors. It continues until the recipient remarries or passes away.
The process of determining alimony
Determining alimony in Florida involves several steps to help ensure fairness and equity. For starters, one spouse must initiate the divorce process by filing paperwork with the court. This starts the legal proceedings, during which alimony may be addressed. Both spouses are required to provide full financial disclosure, including income, expenses, assets and debts. This information is crucial for the court to make an informed decision regarding alimony.
The spouses can attempt to negotiate the terms of alimony with the assistance of their attorneys. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will intervene and decide based on the relevant factors.
Once the court determines the appropriate alimony type, amount and duration, it will issue an alimony order outlining the terms of payment. In certain circumstances, either spouse may seek to modify or terminate the alimony order. This typically requires a substantial change in circumstances, such as a significant income or employment status change.
If you have questions or concerns about this consequential subject, seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.