St. Petersburg Alimony Lawyers
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is an amount of money that a court might order one former spouse to pay the other following a divorce. There are several different kinds of alimony recognized in Florida law, and a court could award a combination of various forms of alimony or none at all. When one party to a divorce is asking the court for alimony, the judge will look at a number of factors, including the need of the requesting party to receive alimony, the ability of the other party to pay it, how long the marriage lasted, and the respective earnings of each party. Whether you are seeking alimony or being ordered to pay, the Florida family law attorneys at Greene & Greene can build a strong case to ensure you are treated fairly and that your needs are met when it comes to deciding spousal support in a Florida divorce. Contact our experienced St. Petersburg alimony lawyers today.
Types of Alimony in Florida
Florida recognizes many different forms of alimony, including temporary, transitional, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and permanent alimony. Judges can award any combination of different types of alimony as appropriate, and the court can order alimony to be made in periodic payments or one lump sum.
Temporary alimony is an award of support ordered to last during the divorce proceedings. It is usually followed by an award of some other form of alimony after the divorce. Temporary alimony is sometimes referred to in legal pleadings as alimony pendente lite.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is awarded to help a party transition from married life to single life. It is meant to help with legitimate, identifiable short-term needs and only lasts for up to two years.
Rehabilitative alimony is meant to help a party become self-supporting by redeveloping previous skills or credentials or acquiring the necessary education, training or work experience. Rehabilitative alimony is awarded pursuant to a specific and defined rehabilitative plan.
Transitional or durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. Its purpose is to provide economic assistance for a set period of time after a short-term or moderate-term marriage or a long-term marriage if permanent alimony isn’t needed.
Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet those needs independently. Courts can award permanent alimony after a marriage of any length, although it is more likely after a long-term marriage and only if no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances.
For the purposes of determining alimony, Florida law defines a short-term marriage as one that lasted less than seven years, a moderate-term marriage as one that lasted between seven and 17 years, and a long-term marriage as one that lasted 17 years or more. These are rebuttable presumptions, and the court can define the duration of the marriage differently based on the specific facts of each case.
Factors That Determine Which Type of Alimony and How Much
The first step for the court when deciding on alimony is to determine whether the requesting party has an actual need for alimony and whether the other party has the ability to pay. If those conditions are satisfied, the court will decide which type of alimony is proper and at what amount. The factors that go into answering these questions are set by Florida statute as follows:
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party
- The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment
- 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
- The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common
- The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment
- All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties
Let Our Family Law Attorneys Help With Alimony in Your St. Petersburg Divorce
In addition to the above, Florida alimony law contains many intricacies and complexities. For example, the court can impute an amount of income to a party who appears to be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, and the amount of alimony can’t leave the payer with significantly less income than the recipient except under exceptional circumstances. Also, some alimony awards are modifiable as to the amount or duration based on a change of circumstances, but others are not. It’s important to get the right advice and representation from experienced lawyers who know the law and can build a strong case that protects you and puts your best interests forward.
Contact Greene & Greene Today
If you are seeking or challenging alimony in your Florida divorce, or if you or your ex are moving the court to modify an alimony award post-divorce, the family law attorneys at Greene & Greene can help. Call our experienced St. Petersburg alimony lawyers today.