Alimony in Florida: What You Need to Know
Divorce can be a contentious issue, but especially when there are disagreements around money. Financial subjects are a cornerstone of any divorce, but in some cases, one spouse may be awarded alimony which is also known as “spousal support.” This is a term for the monetary support that one spouse provides to the other, during the divorce and for some time afterwards. The higher-earning individual is typically expected to provide a certain amount of financial support, to maintain the standard of living that the couple enjoyed while together.
Couples do always have the choice to agree on alimony terms on their own, or forego alimony altogether, often in exchange for another piece of property. This is important to do with the help of an experienced Florida family attorney, so you make sure everyone gets what they deserve in the dissolution. However, some couples aren’t able to come to an agreement on the division of assets or a spousal support package, and they will need to include this in their legal divorce proceedings.
Although the concept of alimony may seem simple, it is often fraught with tension, dispute, and confusion. Not all alimony is created equal. Here in the state of Florida, there are actually five different types of alimony, which may be awarded separately or in combination, based on what the judge sees fit:
- Temporary alimony: Also called “alimony pendente lite,” this support is for during the divorce process, and is terminated once the divorce is finalized.
- Bridge-the-gap alimony: This support begins after the divorce is final, and can last up to two years. It is designed to meet short-term needs as the lower-earning spouse gets on their feet again.
- Rehabilitative alimony: For a non-earning spouse, education and/or training may be important to gain employment. This type of alimony is specifically aimed at funding these efforts.
- Durational alimony: In some cases, the above three types of alimony may not be enough to meet the needs of the other spouse. Durational alimony can last up to the length of the marriage (e.g. 15-year marriage = 15-year durational alimony order).
- Permanent alimony: Occasionally, a judge may award permanent alimony for a spouse who is not able to become self-supporting.
Whether you are the high-earning or low-earning spouse, it’s important to understand the alimony process and what options are available to you. If you want to learn more about alimony in Florida, and how it may affect your divorce, reach out to us at the law office of Julia J. McKee and request your free consultation.