It is not uncommon when a family is going through a divorce that money and affordability of the current debts can become an issue. Alimony was created to address the needs of the homemaker versus that of the breadwinner. While there are still families with a homemaker and a breadwinner, more families have both parties work, with one party earning significantly more than the other party. In these times it is not just the Husband providing alimony to the Wife, it can be the Wife providing alimony to the Husband.
When looking at awarding alimony the courts have a two-part test. First, the person asking for alimony has to demonstrate a NEED for alimony and the has to show that the other party has the ABILITY to pay alimony.
When the court answers this question, they look at 10 factors, listed below:
(1) The duration of the marriage.
(2) The standard of living established during the marriage and the anticipated needs and necessities of life for each party after the entry of the final judgment.
(3) The age and the physical, mental and emotional condition of each party, including whether either party is physically or mentally disabled and the resulting impact on either the obligee's ability to provide for his or her needs or the obligor's ability to pay alimony and whether such condition are expected to be temporary or permanent.
(4) The resources and income of each party, including the income generated from both nonmarital and the marital assets.
(5) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties, including the ability of either party to obtain the necessary skills or education to become self-supporting or to contribute to his or her self support prior to the termination of the support, maintenance, or alimony award.
(6) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
(7) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common, with special consideration given to the need to care to care for a child with a mental or physical disability.
(8) Any other factor necessary for equity and justice between the parties, which shall be specifically identified in the written findings of fact. This may include a finding of a supportive relationship as provided for in Florida Statutes 61.14 (1)(b) or a reasonable retirement as provided for in Florida Statutes 61.14 (1)(c)
TYPES OF ALIMONY
There are more than one type of alimony, which also depends on the length of your marriage. Below are the presumptions of the type/length of marriage the parties have.
Types/Length of Marriages:
Short Term Marriage – a marriage lasting less than ten (10) years.
Moderate Term Marriage – a marriage lasting more than ten (10) years but less than twenty (20) years
Long Term Marriage – a marriage lasting more than twenty (20) years.
(1) Temporary Alimony is alimony awarded during the pendency of the case for those who cannot support themselves during the proceedings.
(2) Bridge-The-Gap Alimony is intended to allow a party to make a transition from being married to being single.
(3) Rehabilitative Alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through either the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.
(4) Durational Alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time usually for a marriage of short or moderate duration. Per the new law, the amount of the award of durational alimony shall not exceed the amount determined to be the disadvantaged spouse’s reasonable need, OR shall not exceed 35% of the difference between the parties’ NET INCOME; whichever amount is LESS.
- For short term marriages, alimony cannot exceed 50% of the length of the marriage.
- For moderate-term marriages, alimony cannot exceed 60% of the length of the marriage.
- For long-term marriages, alimony cannot exceed 75% of the length of the marriage.
* Permanent Alimony has been eliminated as of July 1, 2023, and shall not be awarded for cases determined after that July 1, 2023. *
Modification of Alimony
As long as alimony was awarded in the original Final Judgment (divorce decree) for Dissolution of Marriage, the law states that most types of alimony may be modified or terminated when there has been an unexpected, involuntary, and substantial change in circumstances that affects the former spouse's ability to pay, or the other spouse' need for alimony. It may be modified upon the finding of a reasonable expectation of retirement, or a finding of a supportive relationship. It may also be terminated upon the re-marriage of the obligee or the death of either party.
It is recommended to seek the advise of an attorney regarding all aspects of alimony, negotiating or renegotiating terms of alimony, or establishing your need for alimony, or the defense to show that you are unable to pay. A claim for alimony can be lost forever it a party does not know to petition the court for it.
At Jarbath Pena Law Group, our attorneys have experience in all aspects of alimony. Feel free to contact the office to schedule your consultation today.