Can You Get Alimony in Florida?

Can You Get Alimony in Florida?

Divorce can leave anyone worried about their financial future, but if you left the workforce years ago to raise a family, you’re going to be especially anxious. With your skills and resume so out of date, how can you expect to maintain the same quality of life you enjoyed while married?

This is where alimony comes in. Its original purpose was to ensure that women who had remained at home to raise a family were not left at an economic disadvantage by divorce. Although alimony awards are not as frequent as they used to be, it remains available to both men and women who need financial support until they get the education and training necessary to become self-sufficient. 

In this blog, we explain how Florida courts decide whether to award alimony as well as the different types available.

How does the court decide whether to award alimony?
When you seek alimony during divorce, the court will consider several factors, two of which are the length of the marriage and the standard of living you enjoyed while married. Other considerations include:

• Each spouse’s age and any physical or psychological impairments that affect their ability to support themselves.
• Each spouse’s financial resources, including marital and separate assets and share of marital debt.
• Whether or not the spouse seeking alimony needs additional training or education to become self-sufficient.
• Each spouse’s economic and non-economic contributions to the marriage.

What are the different types of alimony?
There are five different types of alimony in Florida, each intended for a specific purpose.

Temporary: Also known as pendente lite support, temporarily alimony helps you meet your living expenses while the divorce is pending. It terminates automatically after the decree is issued and can be replaced with a different type of alimony if you still need it.  
• Bridge-the-gap: This form of transitional alimony helps you pay your foreseeable short-term expenses while you start over. The length of an award may not exceed two years.
• Rehabilitative: If you need to take classes or vocational training to qualify for gainful employment, the court may award you rehabilitative alimony. The order will include a plan that outlines the estimated duration of any courses or training, along with associated costs and how long it should reasonably take you to find employment.
• Durational: If you are not eligible for permanent alimony, you may seek alimony for a period that does not exceed the length of the relationship. For example, if you were married for three years, your durational alimony award may not last longer than three years.
• Permanent: Permanent alimony is very rarely granted any more, especially in shorter-term marriages (less than seven years). To qualify, you will have to show that you don’t have the ability to achieve the standard of living set by the marriage. Because this criteria is so subjective, the court will review your life while married and order an amount that’s reasonable given your needs and your spouse’s ability to pay.

Bridge-the-gap, durational, and permanent alimony will end if you or your spouse pass away or you remarry. Only rehabilitative alimony will continue until the end of its two-year term.

If you need financial support while you build your new, independent life after divorce, work with a Florida family law attorney who will help you pursue alimony. At the Law Office of Sheena Benjamin-Wise, P.A., we will advocate for you so that you leave the marriage with everything you need for a successful future. To schedule a confidential consultation, please contact us at wiselawoffice.com.