Alimony, also sometimes referred to as spousal support, is when one spouse has to pay money to the other spouse following a separation or divorce. Either party, the husband or the wife, can ask the court to order that alimony be paid to him or her and a judge has broad discretion when deciding whether or not to order someone to pay alimony to his or her spouse and in the amount to be paid. The first thing a judge will consider is whether or not a person asking for alimony has a financial need for it and then does the other party have the ability to pay alimony to the party with a need. These determinations are very fact specific and anyone looking to receive alimony or limit his or her potential alimony obligation is advised to consult with an experienced Jacksonville divorce attorney at our office.
Once a judge determines that there is a need for alimony and the ability to pay it in a case, Florida law allows a judge to decide between four types of alimony. They are:
- Bridge the Gap Alimony – This type of alimony can not exceed two years and is designed to help one spouse transition from being married to being single.
- Rehabilitative Alimony – This type of alimony is designed to help one party become self sufficient by providing money to a spouse while he or she gets the education, training or work experience he or she needs in order to support himself or herself.
- Durational Alimony – This type of alimony provides a spouse with economic assistance for a set period of time and can not exceed the length of the marriage.
- Permanent Alimony – This type of alimony provides payment to a husband or a wife until either party dies or until the party receiving alimony remarries.
In deciding which type of alimony to award to a party, a judge considers a variety of factors, including, but not limited to: the parties’ standard of living, the duration of a marriage, the age and health of the parties, financial resources, earning capacities, contributions to a marriage, children, tax consequences and adultery. For an evaluation of your specific situation, schedule a consultation with a Jacksonville divorce lawyer at our office today.
Finally, if an alimony order is already in place, there are specific statutes that relate to the collection of alimony, arrearages and for the modification of alimony orders. Some types of alimony are modifiable while others are not and for the types of alimony that can be modified, statutes outline what needs to be established before a judge can modify an existing alimony order. A common occurrence that may make an existing alimony order modifiable is when a party receiving alimony cohabitates with another person after his or her divorce is finalized. A Jacksonville family law attorney at our office can help a client collect past due alimony or advise a client that pays alimony whether or not he or she is likely to be able to modify an existing alimony order.
We offer a free, initial half hour consultation either by phone or at the office and will discuss with you your options for proceeding, services and costs. To speak with a Jacksonville divorce attorney or family law lawyer, contact us today at (904) 683-3639.