Those seeking a divorce in Florida should know that alimony has undergone some recent changes. A new Florida state law providing guidelines for alimony took effect on July 1, 2010. Before the enactment of the law, Florida judges relied on previous cases in making alimony determinations. The new law provides exact requirements for how long you must be married in order to be entitled to long-term alimony. The law also sets up different types of alimony for everyone else who does not qualify for long-term alimony. One positive aspect of the law is that it sets out what type of alimony a divorcing spouse is entitled to, which can be especially beneficial for attorneys or those representing themselves. However, there is no absolute value of alimony available to everyone who falls into a certain category. Judges must still take the spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay into account.
The new law sets up four types of alimony: permanent, durational, rehabilitative, and bridge-the-gap.
Under the new law, permanent alimony is only available to spouses who have been married at least 17 years. Some factors that the judge will consider are whether the spouse is getting divorced late in life with poor prospects of obtaining full-time employment and whether the spouse has a medical condition that may make it impossible to work full-time.
Durational alimony is a new category of alimony under the law available to those who have been married from seven to seventeen years. Durational alimony is awarded for short to moderate periods of time. The maximum amount of alimony a spouse can be awarded is for the number of years they were married. For example, if a spouse was married for eight years, he or she is entitled to a maximum of eight years of alimony.
This type of alimony is usually reserved when a spouse has been out of the workforce for many years and needs training or education to support themselves. This type of support is usually limited to four years of support and can include tuition expenses.
The law created a new type of alimony called bridge-the-gap alimony. This is a short-term type of support, designed to help a spouse who has been out of the workforce to get back on his or her feet. Bridge-the-gap alimony is only available for two years. This type of support will be helpful for spouses who have not been married for seven years and do not plan on going back to school.
With these four types of alimony, the law seeks to provide support for deserving spouses in many different situations.
Florida divorce law is modeled after the no fault approach. Under this methodology a divorce may be permitted even if no party is at fault for the marriage troubles. For example, Florida family law does not demand adultery to be alleged when petitioning for a divorce. Florida divorce law only requires the petitioning spouse to testify that the marriage is irretrievably broken. However, under some conditions the Florida family law court will bear in mind adultery when adjudicating alimony payments. If you or your spouse committed adultery you should seek an experienced divorce attorney for legal assistance. The adultery may have a large effect on the amount of alimony payments awarded. On the other hand, depending on the facts of the adultery it could be completely inconsequential to the Florida family law court’s judgment. The evidence supplied by the divorce lawyer will often be the difference between an adultery having a sizable impact and none at all on the amount of alimony awarded.
The Florida Alimony rule says, “The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.” However, the large majority of court determinations unambiguously state that the crucial criteria considered by the court will be the spouse’s need for alimony and the other spouse’s capacity to pay the alimony. In order for the Florida family law court to give alimony based on the adultery, the adultery must have produced a financial loss to the innocent spouse. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer will usually argue that the adultery caused a depletion of family resources, and thus a larger amount of alimony should be given to the innocent spouse.
For legal advice on whether an adultery may have an effect on the courts determination of alimony payments call divorce attorneys at Allen & Abaray, P.A. One of our experienced attorneys will be happy to answer all of your questions during a free consultation.
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