What is Alimony?
Alimony is a legal obligation for one spouse to provide financial support to the other during and after a marital separation and/or divorce.
Is Alimony the same thing as Spousal Support?
Yes, they are two different terms for the same thing.
Do I have to wait until the divorce is over to get Alimony?
No, you don’t. Early on in the divorce process, your lawyer can request the payment of Temporary Spousal Support/Alimony, which will be paid during the period of the divorce process.
Remember, while a Simple Divorce in Florida can take just a few months (typically about 4 from start to finish), Uncontested Divorces and Contested Divorces, in particular, can take a lot longer. Temporary Alimony/Spousal Support is meant to ensure both spouses are financially provided for during the period of the divorce.
Once the divorce is over, Temporary Alimony may be replaced by one of the four types of support discussed below. Note: some of the types of spousal support that are awarded once the divorce is over are not permanent, but they are referred to by names other than Temporary Alimony.
Can I get Alimony if I am getting a Simple Divorce?
What are the different types of Alimony?
In the state of Florida, there are different ways that courts can award spousal support. A court can:
- deny a request for alimony/spousal support or
- award permanent or temporary alimony/spousal support
- award it as a lump sum
- order one spouse to make permanent payments to the other spouse.
These are the different types of Spousal Support awarded under Florida law:
Bridge-the-gap Alimony, as the name implies, is temporary and intended to help one spouse transition from married to single life. The payments will only go on for a period of two years or less. Once a court makes a decision regarding the amount and duration of Bridge-the-gap support, that decision cannot be changed or modified. If either spouse should die during the designated period of Bridge-the-Gap spousal support, the award terminates. Additionally, if the spouse receiving Bridge-the-Gap spousal support gets remarried, the award will terminate.
Rehabilitative Alimony is also temporary and is designed to specifically address situations where one spouse needs to take steps in order to obtain or refresh their career. This may involve the receiving spouse going back to school, obtaining, renewing or updating their licenses or credentials, or taking other steps that may help that spouse get the necessary education or training and credentials in order to find a job.
If you are a spouse requesting support, this is the type you would want the most. Permanent Periodic Alimony is only awarded in cases where the marriage can be defined as a long-term marriage. In Florida, a long-term marriage is defined as a marriage having lasted more than 17 years. If either spouse dies, this form of support terminates. And if the receiving spouse remarries, this form of support terminates. However, this type of spousal support can be modified after it has been awarded. In other words, a court can make a ruling at a later date that the award should be modified or terminated.
Durational Alimony is very similar to Permanent Periodic but applies in cases where the marriage does not qualify as long-term. Durational Alimony applies in cases where the marriage was either short term (less than 7 years) or moderate term (more than 7 but less than 17 years).
How do Courts in Fort Myers Make Spousal Support Decisions?
Although courts use a formula to determine the amount of child support that should be awarded, there is no formula that courts apply when making spousal support decisions. Courts will look to a variety of factors to determine how much support to award, and for how long, or whether to flat out deny the request for alimony. The types of factors a Fort Myers court will look to when making this determination are the following:
- The age, earning ability, health and education of the person requesting alimony
- The financial ability of the other spouse to make the payments
- The assets that will be available to each party after the divorce
- The duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
- The standard of living of the couple during the marriage
Remember, Alimony is a very common issue in a divorce and can often be resolved out of court. However, even if the issue of Alimony is being decided in negotiations between the parties, it is critical that you have an experienced attorney.
How Can Your Fort Myers Attorney Protect Your Interests in Alimony Decisions?
Spousal support is not granted in all divorce cases. In cases where one spouse has remained outside of the workforce for part or all of the duration of the marriage in order to take care of the family home, raise the couple’s children, or otherwise contribute to the household, a court will decide whether or not to grant Spousal Support.
We are familiar with the approaches taken by courts in Fort Myers in cases where spousal support awards are being determined. Our experience can help keep you out of trial because our well-informed lawyers are better able to negotiate favorable Alimony settlements, because they know what the likely results and trial will be. See our blog post Thinking Like your Lawyer: How Your Fort Myers Divorce Attorney Prepares to Advocate for you in Alimony Cases. This knowledge will work to your benefit and is why you need an experienced Fort Myers divorce lawyer by your side.
Alimony and Spousal Support Attorney – Fort Myers, Florida
Our Fort Myers divorce attorneys can help you evaluate your options in order to pursue your goal of receiving the maximum alimony award possible under the law or to help you minimize the alimony payments you might have to make.
We offer free consultations. GET THE HELP YOU NEED. CALL (239) 245-9911 NOW! This line is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We are serving Fort Myers and surrounding cities and counties in Southwest, Florida such as Cape Coral, Punta Gorda, Lehigh Acres, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island and Charlotte and Hendry counties.