How long do I have to pay alimony in Florida?

How long do I have to pay alimony in Florida?

New Florida divorce laws have ended permanent alimony. Judges may now award four different types of alimony and the length of support will depend on the length of the marriage and several other factors.

Robert Sparks Divorce Attorneys of Tampa stands beside our clients throughout divorce proceedings. We want to earn freedom for our clients and make sure they emerge from a divorce with enough to build the life they desire. Contact our offices to schedule a legal consultation on your best options when you are considering a divorce.

Determining How Long Alimony Payments May Be Required

Taking effect in July of 2023, The Florida Alimony Reform Bill changed the length of time spouses may receive alimony after a divorce. It also changed what factors judges use to determine how much alimony can be awarded.

The new laws have removed the option for permanent, life-long alimony, although a judge may renew alimony indefinitely under certain circumstances. The laws set guidelines for durational alimony, alimony that is required only for a certain period. These guidelines are based on the length of the union.

For instance, couples married less than three years aren’t eligible for durational alimony.

Alimony duration and amount for longer marriages are largely based on the exact length of the marriage, defined by the new laws enacted through SB 1416.

  • Short-Term Marriage – Less than 10 years. Durational alimony may not last longer than 50% of the length of this type of marriage.
  • Moderate-Term Marriage – 10 to 20 years. Durational alimony may not last longer than 60% of the length of this type of marriage.
  • Long-Term Marriage – more than 20 years. Durational alimony may not last longer than 70% of the length of this type of marriage.

No matter how many guidelines judges receive from legislators, they still have wide leeway in ruling how long alimony will be paid and how much. Judges can make mistakes, especially when they don’t have access to all the evidence.

If you are contemplating divorce, please consult with a skilled Tampa divorce lawyer about your options. You’ll want a skilled lawyer to present your side of the story in a clear and convincing manner. Your lawyer makes sure the judge hears about everything you’ve been through to make a fair decision that leaves you with the support you need to start a new life.

What Determines the Amount of Alimony Awarded in a Florida Divorce?

The amount will depend on several factors listed in the new Florida divorce guidelines. Under normal circumstances, judges must not award more than 35% of the difference between the two partners’ net incomes.

Instead of permanent alimony, judges can now award four different types of alimony:

Temporary alimony usually refers to short-term support paid to a spouse during a separation before a divorce is finalized.

Bridge-the-gap alimony lasts only two years and helps a partner with the immediate needs of transitioning from a married person to a single life.

Rehabilitative alimony is support based on a spouse’s plan to become financially independent. It includes educational and cost-of-living support while the partner seeks a new career. This type of alimony is capped at five years.

Durational alimony is alimony over a certain period as defined in the section above. Those paying alimony may seek a change in terms when they reach retirement age.

But this is not the only determining factor.

Besides the length of the marriage, judges are required to look at several other factors:

  • The age and health of both partners.
  • The recipient’s need for alimony.
  • The other partner’s ability to pay alimony.
  • The earning capacities of both partners.
  • The contributions to the partnership by both parties, including emotional support and time investment for career building, homemaking, and childcare.
  • Considerations for parents who will be responsible for taking care of children.

A few other changes to consider. A judge may now order that alimony be paid in a lump sum or in traditional monthly payments. The new laws also allow judges to consider the economic effects of infidelity, if proven, to help determine how much the spouse that was cheated on should receive.

Couples may be interested to know that the laws regarding child support have mostly remained the same.

Contact a Tampa Divorce Lawyer

It will be impossible for most people to understand the new and old laws regarding divorce and alimony in Florida. Thankfully, when you trust your case to Robert Sparks Divorce Attorneys, you won’t have to find answers on your own. Having a skilled legal representative on your side can result in a much better outcome for you and your children in a divorce.

At Robert Sparks Attorneys, we are protective of our clients and we get aggressive to secure what’s fair for them. That sometimes means demanding alimony that’s only fair to begin a new life or support children. It may mean fighting to make sure a client doesn’t have to pay an unfair amount while also trying to move on and build a new life.

If you are considering a divorce in the Tampa area, please give our Tampa divorce lawyers a chance to safeguard your interests. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation on your divorce and find out what you should be demanding during your divorce proceedings.