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What Floridians Should know About Spousal Support

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Family Law on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

Spousal support, or alimony, may be a primary concern in a divorce. It should not be confused with child support, which is awarded on behalf of a minor child. Generally, spousal support is based on one spouse's need and the other's ability to pay. In addition, spousal support may be awarded on a permanent basis in certain circumstances. At its most basic level, spousal support is a payment from one spouse to another spouse, commonly to the spouse that is lower wage earning or non-wage earning, especially if that spouse forewent career opportunities to enrich the marriage, such as to raise children or be a homemaker.

The court may consider a variety of factors when determining whether or not to award spousal support. Factors the court may evaluate include the ages, physical conditions, emotional conditions and financial conditions of the spouses; the length of the marriage; the standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage; the needs of the recipient spouse; the amount of time the recipient spouse would require to obtain education or training that would allow him or her to become self-sufficient; and the ability of the paying spouse to be able to pay spousal support while still supporting him or herself.

Depending on the circumstances, spousal support may be awarded for different, temporary, periods of time, or may be awarded on a permanent basis. In some situations, the spousal support can end, such as if the recipient spouse remarries, so it is important to be familiar with those types of situations when alimony may be terminated.

Alimony can be a controversial topic during a divorce. Helping the divorcing spouses understand how the family law process helps the court arrive at a decision to award spousal support or not, and under what conditions to award spousal support, can prepare the spouses for what to expect and make the process a smoother one.

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