- Miami Attorneys Representing Spouses in Divorce Actions
- Who Is Eligible to Obtain Alimony?
- How Long Does Alimony Last?
- How Is Alimony Calculated?
- Does Remarriage or Death Affect Alimony?
- Discuss Your Case with a Knowledgeable Miami Lawyer
It is not uncommon to find a disparity between the incomes of married spouses, with one spouse earning far more than the other. Additionally, in many marriages, one spouse stops working to stay at home to take care of the children and household, while the other spouse works outside the home. When a marriage between spouses with unequal incomes ends, it is not uncommon for the lesser-earning spouse to seek alimony. If you are in the process of considering a divorce, you should speak to Miami alimony lawyer Sandy T. Fox to understand your options and rights. Mr. Fox is a Florida Bar Board Certified specialist in Marital & Family Law.
Either spouse in a Florida divorce action may be eligible to obtain alimony. In determining whether alimony should be granted, the court will evaluate factors such as the standard of living that the spouses enjoyed during the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the age and emotional and physical health of each party. The court will also consider each party’s financial resources, assets, and liabilities, their sources of income and earning potential, and what each party contributed to the marriage. Additionally, the court may consider which party primarily cares for any minor children whom the spouses share. Finally, the court may weigh whether either party committed adultery, as well as any other factor that it deems relevant.
How long alimony lasts depends on which type of alimony is awarded. In Florida, the law allows for bridge-the-gap, durational, rehabilitative, or permanent alimony, or any combination of these forms. Alimony may consist of a lump sum or periodic payments. Bridge-the-gap alimony is meant to help a person transition from married to single life by providing the funds needed to resume life without a spouse. Rehabilitative alimony is similar to bridge-the-gap alimony, in that it is designed to aid a party in the pursuit of skills or training needed to earn an income.
Durational alimony is usually awarded in a marriage of a short duration, which is presumed to be a marriage of less than seven years, or a moderate-term marriage, which is a marriage that lasted more than seven years but less than 17. It may be granted in long-term marriages, though, which are marriages of 17 years or more, if the court finds that permanent alimony is inappropriate. The goal of durational alimony is to provide a party with financial assistance for a set period. Finally, permanent alimony may be awarded following a long-term marriage if the court finds that it is appropriate based on factors such as each party’s income and assets. It is rarely granted in moderate- and short-term marriages.
Alimony is calculated on a case-by-case basis, and there is no set formula in Florida for determining what constitutes an appropriate amount. Instead, in calculating alimony, the court will usually consider the monthly income and expenses of each party to assess the needs of the party seeking support and the ability of the other party to pay. The court will also consider the length of the marriage and other factors, such as the overall financial status of the parties and the tax ramifications of an alimony award.
The remarriage of the party receiving alimony results in the termination of bridge-the-gap, durational, or permanent alimony. Notably, the marriage of the person paying alimony will not affect his or her obligation. Permanent alimony may also be terminated or modified if the party receiving alimony is involved in a supportive relationship, which is essentially a relationship in which a person resides with someone and shares expenses or finances. The death of either party will also result in the termination of bridge-the-gap, durational, or permanent alimony. Additionally, parties may seek modifications of rehabilitative, durational, or permanent alimony if they demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances. Rehabilitative alimony may also be modified or terminated if the party receiving such alimony completes or fails to comply with the rehabilitative plan. Bridge-the-gap alimony cannot be modified.
It is important for people seeking a divorce to understand their rights regarding alimony, since an adverse ruling might permanently affect their financial health. If you intend to file for divorce, the knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., can guide you through the process and help you seek the best outcome available under the circumstances. Our attorneys represent people in the Miami area and elsewhere in South Florida. You can reach us to set up a consultation by calling 800.596.0579 or using our online form.