Alimony in Florida Family Courts

Alimony in Florida an Overview

Unlike child support, there is no formula to calculate alimony in Florida.  Alimony is based on many important factors, and calculations are left up to the Court's discretion.  Although there are rules the court must abide by, those rules are open to a wide interpretation.


Florida family attorney Christophe Fiori works closely with clients to achieve the best possible outcome in an alimony proceeding.  Florida family courts have the authority to grant alimony (spousal support) to either party in a divorce or dissolution when the requesting spouse can prove that he or she really needs to be supported and that the other spouse has the financial ability to pay that support. An alimony award could be either permanent or rehabilitative (temporary).


Florida Statute 61.08 is the statute that outlines the "guidelines" that the Court must use in determining alimony. Alimony may be granted to either party, and it may be rehabilitative or permanent. It could be a lump sum or you could pay payments---or both.


Though Florida is considered a "no fault" state, it is not a true no fault state, as the Court may consider the adultery of either spouse when determining the amount of alimony awarded. If you know you are going to be stuck paying alimony, there is an equalization formula that can be used to figure what you may possibly be ordered to pay.


Tampa alimony attorney Christophe Fiori represents men and women obtain the best possible result in divorce and alimony proceedings.  Speak with an experienced divorce lawyer for a free consultation to discuss your case in a confidential and professional setting.  Call (888) 384-2872 or Request a Free Consultation

Florida Alimony Guideline

Florida Alimony Law

Family Law Statutes 61.08 These guidelines form the legal basis upon which the Judge while support his determination of Alimony payments. Remember, that the guidelines only help the Tampa Family Court Judges exercise the discretionary power to make the final determination as to the actually payment.

The following alimony guidelines are established under Florida laws:

  • 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, the non-marital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
  • 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.
  • All sources of income available to either party.


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Permanent Periodic Alimony in Florida

Determining Permanent Periodic Alimony in Florida

Length of marriage and a disparity in income are the main factors that a court will consider in awarding permanent alimony. 


Permanent alimony continues until the death of either party and/or the remarriage of the recipient. Recent changes in law allow for a modification or termination where the recipient spouse is co-habitating in a financially supportive relationship. 


If the marriage is less than 7 years, it is considered a short-term marriage and alimony is unlikely unless there are unusual circumstances such as poor health and/or disability of the spouse preventing him/her from obtaining employment. Permanent alimony is typically awarded in a marriage of 15 years or more where there is a disparity in income. Marriages between 7 and 15 years can go either way, depending upon the facts of each case.


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Rehabilitative Alimony in Florida

Determining Rehabilitative Alimony in Florida

Alimony paid over a definitive time period to allow a spouse the opportunity to become self supporting by obtaining the necessary education and training to gain new employment skills. This can include vocational school or college. An individual may be awarded lump sum or permanent alimony along with rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony may be awarded in a short-term marriage where one spouse has stayed home to take care of the children and needs education or training to re-enter the work force.

In awarding rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific finding by the trial court regarding the need for rehabilitation and a plan to do so. Rehabilitative alimony is from a financially able former spouse to a financially needy former spouse to assist the needy spouse in adjusting to a new life and to aid in obtaining new skills, education, and/or other rehabilitation.

If you need to know whether an award of alimony is appropriate as you begin a divorce or dissolution of your partnership or marriage, are currently in the process of figuring out a fair alimony settlement, or if you are having problems or issues with a court-ordered alimony arrangement, Tampa Alimony Lawyer Christophe Fiori can help. 


Call for a free consultation (888) 384-2872


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Florida Alimony Law 61.08

Florida Alimony Statute 61.08

 

(1) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may grant alimony to either party, which alimony may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent in nature or any combination of these forms of alimony. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments or payments in lump sum or both. The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. In all dissolution actions, the court shall include findings of fact relative to the factors enumerated in subsection (2) supporting an award or denial of alimony.

(2) In determining whether to award alimony or maintenance, the court shall first make a specific factual determination as to whether either party has an actual need for alimony or maintenance and whether either party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance. If the court finds that a party has a need for alimony or maintenance and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance, then in determining the proper type and amount of alimony or maintenance under subsections (5)-(8), the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.
(b) The duration of the marriage.
(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
(d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
(e) 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.
(f) 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.
(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
(h) 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.
(i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
(j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

(3) To the extent necessary to protect an award of alimony, the court may order any party who is ordered to pay alimony to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy or a bond, or to otherwise secure such alimony award with any other assets which may be suitable for that purpose.

(4) For purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater. The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.

(5) Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to assist a party by providing support to allow the party to make a transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, and the length of an award may not exceed 2 years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony shall not be modifiable in amount or duration.

(6)(a) Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through either:1. The redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or
2. The acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.
(b) In order to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan which shall be included as a part of any order awarding rehabilitative alimony.
(c) An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated in accordance with s.61.14 based upon a substantial change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the rehabilitative plan.

(7) Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. The amount of an award of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances in accordance with s. 61.14. However, the length of an award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.

(8) Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2), following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate based upon clear and convincing evidence after consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2), or following a marriage of short duration if there are written findings of exceptional circumstances. In awarding permanent alimony, the court shall include a finding that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship in accordance with s.61.14.

(9) The award of alimony may not leave the payor with significantly less net income than the net income of the recipient unless there are written findings of exceptional circumstances.

(10)(a) With respect to any order requiring the payment of alimony entered on or after January 1, 1985, unless the provisions of paragraph (c) or paragraph (d) apply, the court shall direct in the order that the payments of alimony be made through the appropriate depository as provided in s.61.181.
(b) With respect to any order requiring the payment of alimony entered before January 1, 1985, upon the subsequent appearance, on or after that date, of one or both parties before the court having jurisdiction for the purpose of modifying or enforcing the order or in any other proceeding related to the order, or upon the application of either party, unless the provisions of paragraph (c) or paragraph (d) apply, the court shall modify the terms of the order as necessary to direct that payments of alimony be made through the appropriate depository as provided in s.61.181.
(c) If there is no minor child, alimony payments need not be directed through the depository.
(d)1. If there is a minor child of the parties and both parties so request, the court may order that alimony payments need not be directed through the depository. In this case, the order of support shall provide, or be deemed to provide, that either party may subsequently apply to the depository to require that payments be made through the depository. The court shall provide a copy of the order to the depository.
2. If the provisions of subparagraph 1. apply, either party may subsequently file with the depository an affidavit alleging default or arrearages in payment and stating that the party wishes to initiate participation in the depository program. The party shall provide copies of the affidavit to the court and the other party or parties. Fifteen days after receipt of the affidavit, the depository shall notify all parties that future payments shall be directed to the depository.
3. In IV-D cases, the IV-D agency shall have the same rights as the obligee in requesting that payments be made through the depository.

History.—ss. 7, 12, Oct. 31, 1828; RS 1484; GS 1932; RGS 3195; CGL 4987; s. 1, ch. 23894, 1947; s. 1, ch. 63-145; s. 16, ch. 67-254; s. 10, ch. 71-241; s. 1, ch. 78-339; s. 1, ch. 84-110; s. 115, ch. 86-220; s. 2. ch. 88-98; s. 3, ch. 91-246; s. 1, ch. 2010-199; s. 79, ch. 2011-92.

Note.—Former s. 65.08.


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