If you are getting divorced, you may be entitled to support payments from your spouse, known as alimony. To determine your right to alimony, consult with Fort Lauderdale alimony attorney Serena Carroll today.
In many marriages, one spouse relies on the other spouse for significant financial support. Divorce means the end of the marriage relationship, but it does not necessarily mean that one spouse’s financial support of the other should end. Often a spouse who does not work or works limited hours makes other important contributions to the marriage, including caring for children and performing other tasks related to the home. That spouse should not simply be left in the cold because the other spouse was the primary earner during the marriage. The law recognizes the contributions of spouses who are not primary breadwinners during the marriage, and may require payment of alimony.
Whether a spouse is entitled to alimony – also called maintenance or spousal support – depends upon numerous factors. The most important consideration is whether one spouse has the need for alimony, and the other spouse has the ability to pay alimony. If the need or ability to pay is not present, there is no cause to pay spousal support.
Another important consideration is the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasted seven years or less, alimony is less likely to be awarded, but if the marriage exceeds 17 years in length, there is a strong likelihood of alimony. The standard of living of the couple is also considered: each party should continue to live a similar lifestyle as the other after divorce, and this is achieved through alimony. The age and other resources of the parties are taken into consideration, and the education and earning capacities of the spouses are also analyzed. Responsibilities towards children and tax consequences of alimony are considered. Alimony is one of the rare circumstances in modern divorce when spousal fault – such as adultery – may also be taken into consideration.
There are several different forms of alimony under Florida law. The most familiar is permanent spousal support. This is most commonly paid in monthly payments, and lasts up until the spouse receiving support remarries, cohabitates with another, or until either spouse dies. In some circumstances, rehabilitative alimony is appropriate. This form of alimony requires payment of funds to support education and acquisition of job skills so that the non-working spouse can re-enter the workforce and become self-sufficient. Bridge-the-gap alimony is meant to help the lesser-earning spouse get back on his or her feet, and lasts for a relatively short time. Durational alimony was recently created by statute, and is meant to provide for some support that is more extensive than bridge-the-gap or rehabilitative alimony, but less extensive than permanent alimony.
Because alimony is based on many different factors, it requires a thorough investigation and consideration of many different facts. An experienced Fort Lauderdale alimony attorney can help explain your options and ensure that you pay or receive alimony that is fair to both parties. In some instances, changed circumstances following divorce necessitate modification of alimony payments, which should also be discussed with an attorney. To understand your rights regarding alimony, contact our office today at (954) 525-2050.