Alimony or No Alimony? That is the Question.

Whether you are entitled to alimony or will be obligated to pay alimony is one of the most difficult questions for your family law attorney to answer. Your rights concerning the payment of alimony, also called spousal support, are set out in the Florida Statutes. This law sets forth the types of alimony that the court may award and the factors the court must consider in making an award of alimony. One of the factors is the length of the marriage. The Florida alimony statute was recently changed to include an explanation that long term marriages are marriages of at least 17 years. Short term marriages are marriages that are less than 7 years in term. Moderate term marriages are those between 7 and 17 years in term.

The new statute also includes the types of alimony, including a new one called durational alimony. According to the statute, durational alimony may be awarded when permanent alimony is not appropriate under the circumstances of the case. Durational alimony cannot be awarded for a period longer than the term of the marriage. Because durational alimony is a new type of alimony, there are very few court decisions to guide your family law attorney in answering your questions about it.

Many practitioners feel that durational alimony is an appropriate type of alimony to request for clients with moderate term marriages. Recently, a Florida State Representative who was involved in drafting and passing the new statute said that this was not necessarily the intention of the legislature. According to the representative, durational alimony was intended as an alternative to permanent alimony for long term marriages.

Although the new statute clarifies some of the issues concerning the courts ability to grant alimony, it remains difficult to predict whether the court will award alimony and how much the award will be.