Navigating Post-Divorce Financial Support
Under Florida law, an individual can seek financial support from their ex-spouse following the end of their marriage. This is known as alimony or spousal support. The amount and duration of time that this support is provided depends on a number of different factors. These factors can range anywhere from the financial standing of the dependent spouse to the salary of the supportive spouse. At Robert Sparks Attorneys, we have guided countless individuals through the complex process of finalizing an alimony agreement.
Whether you are the supportive or dependent spouse, we are here to assist you throughout your divorce. Our team at Robert Sparks Attorneys can provide assistance in alimony matters for:
- People who are looking to receive alimony payments
- People who are being asked to pay alimony in their divorce
- People who wish to modify a current alimony arrangement
- People who wish to stop an alimony modification
If you fall into any of the aforementioned categories, we invite you to contact us today to discuss your case. Our goal is to help you achieve the best possible alimony arrangement by working with you and the other party amicably. If cooperation becomes impossible, our lawyers are prepared to handle your case in court.
Call (813) 606-5050 to discuss your options with our alimony lawyers in Tampa.
What Factors Will the Court Consider?
An alimony agreement can be reached by spouses prior to divorce; however, if they cannot reach mutual terms, a judge will make the final decision. The family law court will take several factors into consideration when trying to determine the appropriate alimony agreement. For example, the judge may review the following:
- How long the couple was married
- The contribution each spouse made to their marriage
- Each spouse’s role in the marriage
- The available financial resources for each spouse
- The physical, emotional, and mental health of each spouse
- The standard of living provided during marriage
While the court has the power to craft an alimony agreement they think is best for each party, having a skilled alimony lawyer on your side can help ensure your rights and best interests are protected.
What Types of Alimony Can Be Awarded in Florida?
Florida allows for several different types of alimony to be awarded in a divorce. Our legal team at Robert Sparks Attorneys has a firm grasp on all types of spousal support available to our clients. When you come to us, we can assess your situation and help you understand the alimony options available to you. Our goal is to guide you through the alimony agreement in a smooth manner, whether your case must go to trial or not.
Permanent alimony, or permanent periodic alimony, is financial support provided by one spouse to another to maintain the standard of living that existed during the marriage. However, in order for a spouse to be eligible for permanent alimony, the marriage must have lasted a considerable amount of time. Some time ago in Florida, a marriage had to have lasted for 20 years or more to be eligible for permanent alimony. Today, there are cases where you can see permanent alimony awarded to dependent spouse in marriages lasting 14 years or less.
According to Section 61.08 of the Florida Statutes, an award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship.
Rehabilitative alimony is spousal support with the goal of self-support. In other words, one party is ordered to pay alimony to their former spouse until the recipient can support himself or herself.
According to § 61.08(6)(a) of the Florida Statutes, this type of alimony can be paid until either:
- The recipient redevelops the skills or credentials needed to gain employment, or
- The recipient receives education or training necessary to gain marketable skills for employment.
This type of alimony is awarded when one of the parties involved in the divorce needs temporary financial support until self-support can be accomplished. For example, if one spouse let a professional certificate lapse while caring for children or performing familial duties, a rehabilitative alimony award might be provided to that person until a renewal of the certification and an appropriate income can be accomplished.
Transitional / Bridge-the-Gap Alimony
Bridge-the-gap alimony, or “transitional” alimony, is a temporary payment plan designed to provide financial support to a dependent spouse while they transition from married life to single life. This type of alimony has a set duration with a specific end date, and is often implemented for the time it takes to complete the divorce process. While the court may order it for longer divorces, it is most commonly implemented for shorter marriages.
This type of spousal support is often a one-time payment and, according to § 61.08(5) of the Florida Statutes, can last no longer than two years. Also important about this type of alimony is that it cannot be modified in amount or duration. Some of the types of financial needs that might merit transitional support could be if the person needs money for a down payment on a new living arrangement, or if they need to pay for a moving van.
If you and your spouse have been married less than 17 years and are divorcing, durational alimony may be appropriate. According to § 61.08 of the Florida Statutes, durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a dependent spouse with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration, or following a marriage of long duration where there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis.
Like permanent periodic alimony, the award of durational alimony is appropriate when one spouse is better able to maintain the marital standard of living than the other. The amount awarded will typically be a monthly sum to be paid by the higher-earning former spouse to the other. Instead of being permanent, the award by the court will be for a specific number of months or years and cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
According to Florida Statute § 61.08(1), in any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments or payments in lump sum, or both. When deciding how you would like to receive alimony payments, you need to consider a number of factors, including potential tax consequences, the financial ability of the paying spouse to pay a larger sum at one time, the financial needs of any children involved, and more. An experienced attorney can help you look over all potential options and come up with the solution that best fits your needs.
Contested divorces can take years to finalize, and spouses dependent on the financial help of their former partner may not be able to shoulder the financial burden throughout the entire process. Temporary alimony is one way the courts have attempted to address this issue, which allows the financially-reliant spouse to request alimony that will last for the duration of their divorce proceedings. In order for temporary alimony to be awarded, however, the spouse in question must be able to prove that they are in need.
Contact Robert Sparks Attorneys for Guidance
Let us utilize our experience and success in achieving favorable alimony agreements to benefit your divorce case. Having the right legal representation by your side can make all the difference, and with decades of collective experience, our Tampa alimony attorneys at Robert Sparks Attorneys are ready to provide you with the passionate and knowledgeable legal guidance you require.
Contact our Tampa alimony lawyers at Robert Sparks Attorneys today for the dependable representation you need. Call (813) 606-5050 or fill out our online form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:My Ex Got a Raise, Can I Modify Alimony?
A: In Florida family law cases, awards of permanent periodic alimony may be modified. Alimony awards can be modified if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the final judgment. In Florida divorce cases, alimony is based on one party’s need, and the other party’s ability to pay. Either party receiving an increase in income could constitute a substantial change in circumstances, warranting a modification of the alimony amount.