Will I get Alimony? – Understanding Spousal Maintenance in Florida Divorce

Will I get alimony is a question Family law practitioners get asked very frequently. Florida family law court is not required to order alimony in every dissolution of marriage case. Alimony law is a complex area of divorce litigation and retaining a Boca Raton Divorce attorney such as the Law Office of Matthew D. Martin can help you understand how the alimony statutes apply to your specific case. If you are a payee (the one receiving the maintenance), its important to understand the alimony statutes so you can make sure you are receiving what you are due under the law. If you are ordered to pay support, knowing the alimony and maintenance laws can help you understand what you may be ordered to pay and if any modifications are warranted after the initial order.

Florida Alimony Statute

Florida has codified its alimony statues at §61.08 which is used to determine spousal maintenance payments. In order for the court to order a party to pay alimony or maintenance to the other spouse, the court must make written specific factual findings that there is actually a need for alimony or maintenance and whether either party has the ability to pay. If the court makes such findings and alimony or spousal maintenance is appropriate in the case, Florida Statute §61.08(2)a-j provides a list of factors the court can consider when determining the appropriate amount of the payment. The court can consider such things as the standard of living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, and education and employability of the parties involved. This is not an exhaustive list of the factors that the court can consider. If your case is unable to be resolved prior to trial, retaining a Boca Raton family lawyer can help bring the appropriate facts of your case before the court during your hearing regarding alimony.

Will I get Alimony in My Divorce Case? There are several types of alimony available should the court determine that spousal maintenance is warranted. The length of the marriage is one of the key factors in determining the appropriate type of alimony. Florida Statute §61.08(4) creates a rebuttable presumption regarding the length of the marriage. Short-term marriages are presumed to have a duration of less than seven (7) years, a moderate or intermediate term marriage (formally known as a “gray area” marriage) lasts between seven (7) and seventeen (17) years, and a long-term marriage is one that lasts seventeen (17) years or longer. When calculating the length, the length of time is calculated between the date the parties are married and the date of the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage. Florida Statute §61.08(4).

The length of the marriage and whether it is short, intermediate, or long term will help the dictate what type of alimony is warranted. Thus, the date and timing as to when a party files the petition for divorce is important and can impact the type or duration of the alimony that is appropriate.

Types of Alimony in Florida

Some of the types of alimony are bridge-the-gap alimony designed to assist with legitimate short-term needs (Florida Statute §61.08(5)), rehabilitative alimony to assist with establishing the capacity for self support (Florida Statute §61.08(6)), durational alimony to provide economic assistance for a set period of time (Florida Statute §61.08(7)) or permanent alimony to provide for the needs and necessities of life after the divorce (Florida Statute §61.08(8)). In Florida, alimony can be paid over time or in a lump sum. Florida Statute §61.08(1).

Alimony is a complicated topic in Florida divorces, including dissolution of marriage in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami Dade Counties.  Our firm utilizes sophisticated computer software to analyze the financial assets and liabilities of the parties and the impact of spousal maintenance payments after the marriage is dissolved. Our attorney works with our clients to determine what is reasonable and fair in every case specific to our clients. If warranted, we will consult with forensic accountants to help us analyze the financial circumstances of the parties. If you are considering filing for a divorce, contact the Law Office of Matthew D. Martin now for a free family law consultation in our Boca Raton location to discuss your options under the Florida alimony statutes.