Understanding Florida Alimony
Alimony, or as it is often called, spousal support, is a monetary award given to one party in a divorce (dissolution of marriage). As each state has its own statutes spelling out exactly how to obtain a divorce in that state, alimony is one of the topics covered. Therefore it is important to check the statutes of the state where the couple resides to determine how alimony is handled in their state. For persons seeking a divorce in Florida, they can research Statute 61.08 to learn the details of alimony in Florida. Here follows a brief summary of the types of alimony available to Florida residents. Each type of alimony has its advantages and disadvantages and also the requirements for qualifying. While in the past, most alimony went to women, that is no longer true. Either party in a divorce case can receive alimony from the other, often depending on how much a party earns and the financial needs of the other party.
Temporary alimony: this type of alimony is designed to help a party during and only during the litigation of the divorce case. It ends immediately following the signing of the final order. For example, if a party does not have the financial resources to, say, pay the mortgage on the marital home, and the other party does, the party who can pay may be ordered to make that payment during the proceedings of the case.
Permanent alimony: in Florida, this type of alimony is being reviewed by the political powers who want to change this type of alimony, making it have a more flexible termination. However, the bill has not passed, so at the moment, permanent alimony is awarded for the life, until death, of the recipient or the party paying. Usually, permanent alimony is used for couples who have what is referred to as a long-term marriage of over 17 years, particularly in cases where one party has been the breadwinner while the other party has been a full-time homemaker. There is now a stipulation that should the party receiving alimony remarries or enters into cohabitation with a non-relative, the alimony will end. It cannot be reinstated should the new relationship fail. As time and circumstances change, this type of alimony can be modified by going back to court with proof of the need for change. A couple cannot modify alimony on their own just by agreeing to a change, and they must go back to court.
Lump Sum alimony: just as it sounds, lump sum alimony is a one-time payment of money immediately following the divorce. The party receiving the lump sum can never return to court for more alimony.
Rehabilitative alimony: this is designed to help a party, particularly one who has not worked outside the home or whose current job will not provide enough income to support them. Going to school, a job training program or some other form of job rehabilitation will be paid for with this type of alimony. A plan for how the money will be used is drawn up, and the recipient must spend the money exactly as it is designated in the plan. There will also be a time limit to complete the rehabilitation. Should the party finish the plan sooner than expected, the alimony will stop. It will also stop if the party doesn’t use the money as ordered. Modification is rarely available.
Durational alimony: is intended to help a party adjust to the single life, often used for a stay-at-home party who must now become self-supportive. The length of time for this type of alimony will never be longer than the number of years of marriage. Sometimes the amount can be modified if all the prerequisites are met. Remarriage or cohabitation will reduce or end durational alimony.
Bridge-the-gap alimony: sometimes, a divorce will greatly change the lifestyle and social standing of a party to the point extra money will be needed to make a reasonable transition. The award will be for two years and cannot be modified in time or amount. Remarriage or cohabitation will reduce or end this type of alimony.
Alimony in Florida can be very tricky, so it is wise to find a Family Law lawyer with experience in handling divorces where a party is seeking alimony. Attorney Grant Gisondo, recently honored with the title of Marital and Family Law Board Certified, has over a decade of successfully handling divorces, many of which involved alimony pleas. If you live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough Counties, and New York and Washington DC, Attorney Gisondo is available to represent your divorce. He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where you can learn more about alimony and answers to other general questions you might have. Please call his office at (561) 530-4568 to learn more about the free consultation and to make an appointment. You can also learn more about Attorney Gisondo’s Marital and Family Law practice on his website http://gisondolaw.com.