Alimony is based upon the premise that marriage is a partnership and that the termination of that partnership may require the shifting of a certain amount of income from one party to another.
Alimony is designed to assist the economically weaker spouse in making the transition from marriage to life as a single person by providing income to them after their divorce in Florida.
The first and most basic requirements for any alimony award is that the Court must find one party is in “need” of alimony and that the other party has the “ability to pay” alimony. Unless those two tests are positive, then no alimony should be awarded by the Court. The complexities involved in calculation alimony can include the issue of what is the actual income of the parties, what sort of income will the parties have post divorce and what impact will other financial assets or liabilities have the parties after the marriage is over.
We work extensively with our clients to make sure that the income for either party is properly reflected and calculated in every case. However, since not all marriages are the same, there are multiple types of alimony that the Court can award.
The amount and type of alimony is strictly determined by your individual situation and is very fact sensitive. Some factors that go into alimony award determinations include: the history of the marriage, the age of the parties, the educational background and employment history of the parties. Other factors include adultery, the responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they share and the relative educational backgrounds of the parties.
Once the Court determines that there is a “need” for alimony and an “ability to pay” alimony, then the question becomes what type of alimony should be awarded and in what amount. Recently the Florida Legislature modified the statutes to give exact definitions for what constitutes a short term, moderate term and a long term marriage.
Based upon the consideration of all of these factors and issues:
Alimony can take many forms including:
- Permanent Period provides for ongoing monthly payments until the death or remarriage of recipient. Recent changes in the law allow modifications in cases of “cohabitation in a financially supportive relationship,” even without remarriage.
- Durational Alimony is awarded to provide the party with financial assistance during a period of time following the marriage, and may be modified or terminated. Durational alimony may not be awarded for a period of time exceeding the length of the marriage.
- Rehabilitative Alimony is alimony paid to allow the spouse to gain new educational and/or employment skills so that they can support themselves. Rehabilitative alimony awards require that a specific “plan” be submitted to the Court for the nature, length and costs of the education or employment training necessary.
- Bridge the Gap Alimony is alimony designed to carry a spouse over for a shorter period of time so that they can reestablish themselves. The new statute now specific limits the period of time that Bridge the Gap Alimony can be awarded to two years.
- Lump-Sum Alimony is awarded by a Court when ongoing monthly payments are not possible or are not likely to be made in a timely manner.
The court may determine that one or more of the various types of alimony apply in your situation. In some instances we can negotiate a settlement to a difficult alimony case by looking at alternatives to the standard alimony awards so that the financial deal makes better sense for both of the parties.
It is important to remember that your alimony issue has the potential to affect your financial situation now and long into the future. By taking advantage of the knowledge, and experience provided by the The Law Offices of Kevin C. Maxwell and Associates, you can avoid long-term financial pitfalls, save money now, and develop a future financial forecast that will protect you and your family.