It is always possible in a Florida divorce that the court orders one of the parties to pay the other spousal maintenance or alimony. Many people going through the divorce process have questions about spousal maintenance, but one of the frequently asked questions is how long alimony lasts.
While there is no specific length of time that a person may pay or receive alimony under Florida law, there are some things that you should know about alimony in Florida that can provide some information about the duration of alimony. This blog post will fill you in.
Who Pays Spousal Support In Florida?
Florida courts consider many factors when determining which spouse, if any, has to pay spousal support and how much they have to pay. Some of those factors include:
- The length of the marriage;
- The spouses’ standard of living during the marriage;
- Whether a spouse gave up certain opportunities (earning, education, professional) for the sake of the marriage;
- The spouses’ health;
- Whether there was abuse or domestic violence.
The spouses’ lawyers make arguments regarding these factors and other factors that are relevant to the spousal support issue. In the end, it is up to the judge to determine a spousal support situation that is fair to the spouses.
How Long Am I Expected To Pay Spousal Support In Florida?
In terms of the duration of alimony, Florida law specifically defines marriage in terms of length:
- Short-term: a marriage lasting less than 7 years
- Moderate-term: a marriage lasting between 7 and 17 years
- Long-term: a marriage lasting longer than 17 years
These definitions of marriage are important because the length of an alimony award is related to the length of the marriage.
For example, in a short or moderate-term marriage, the parties should expect to pay or receive alimony for a short or moderate time period. Similarly, parties should expect to pay or receive alimony over a long period of time in a long-term marriage.
It is uncommon, however, for a Florida court to order that the parties pay or receive alimony beyond the term of the marriage. For example, a Florida court is unlikely to award a long duration of paying or receiving alimony in a short-term marriage.
Can Alimony Be Terminated or Modified in Florida?
Florida law also allows for alimony to be modified if:
- there is a substantial change in circumstances;
- the change was not contemplated at the time of the final judgment of dissolution; and,
- the change was sufficient, material, involuntary, and permanent in nature.
In sum, yes – alimony can be terminated or modified in the State of Florida.
What Are The Different Types Of Spousal Support In Florida?
According to Florida divorce law, there are five situations where spousal support may be awarded. Importantly, a judge may award any combination of these spousal support payments. Furthermore, a judge may order that spousal support be paid periodically (i.e., monthly) or in one lump sum.
The five situations are:
- Temporary spousal support. Temporary spousal support is awarded while the divorce proceedings are happening and ends when the court enters the final judgment.
- Bridge-the-gap spousal support. This type of support focuses on what each spouse may need to successfully transition from being married to being single.
- Rehabilitative spousal support. Rehabilitative support is similar to bridge-the-gap support because it is short-term and transitional.
- Durational spousal support. In Florida, durational support may be awarded in short-term or moderate-term marriages. Durational support covers a set amount of time determined by the court. This type of support cannot last longer than the spouses’ marriage.
- Permanent spousal support. Permanent support is typically awarded in moderate and long-term marriages. Permanent support usually lasts until the receiving spouse either passes away or is re-married.
A Divorce Attorney Can Help
The insight provided in this blog post notwithstanding, it’s important to have excellent legal representation when you’re going through a divorce to make sure your interests are heard. Whether or not you think spousal support will be a topic of contention, a reputable divorce attorney can guide you through the process and can give you peace of mind that you won’t be taken advantage of.
Contact the Orlando Family and Divorce Law Firm of Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC for Help Today
Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC
815 N Magnolia Ave Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32803