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The Basics of Alimony Awards in Florida

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Divorce on Thursday, December 31, 2015.

In Florida, when a couple decides to divorce, equitable distribution rules are followed concerning property division. In addition, an alimony award may also be considered. Alimony can be granted to either spouse based on the needs of the recipient spouse and the ability of the paying spouse to pay. The court will then consider relevant factors to arrive at the nature and amount of the alimony award.

Alimony can be awarded in different circumstances. It can be awarded to aid one spouse with short-term needs that may be associated with transitioning from married to single life. In addition to short-term, bridge-the-gap type alimony or rehabilitative alimony may also be awarded to help a spouse develop the capacity to support themselves. Rehabilitative alimony can help with the development of previous employment skills or credentials the spouse already possessed, or it may help the spouse obtain education, training, or work experience to develop employment skills necessary to support themselves.

In addition to durational alimony, a court may decide to award permanent periodic alimony. Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. Permanent alimony awards typically are not given in circumstances of a short-term marriage or marriages of moderate duration. Marriages under seven years are considered short-term; marriages falling between seven and 17 years in length are generally considered moderate duration marriages; and marriages lasting more than 17 years are considered long-term marriages.

Although the court may consider many factors relevant to achieving equity between spouses, factors the court may commonly consider when granting an alimony award include the couple's standard of living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the age and physical and emotional conditions of both spouses, and the ability of each spouse to earn an income and their financial resources. A court may also consider the time required for an individual to obtain sufficient education and training to secure adequate employment, services provided by the spouses concerning homemaking, child rearing, and the education or career building of the other spouse.

Couples likely have a number of important divorce legal issues when dissolving their marriage. Yet, oftentimes, one of the most important, financially speaking, is alimony. Because of this significance,, it is important for divorcing individuals to understand the process, their legal rights, and how best to act on those rights.

Source: The Florida Bar, "Divorce in Florida Pamphlet," accessed Dec. 28, 2015

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