Under Florida law, the court has the power to grant alimony that is rehabilitative, bridge-the-gap, or durational in nature. Each is meant to serve a designated purpose, depending on the specific needs of the divorcing couple. As a relatively new concept in Florida, durational alimony would only be appropriate if the couple has engaged in a short-term marriage (7 years or less) or moderate term marriage (7-17 years).
Durational alimony provides a financially dependent spouse assistance. The time could be a months or years after divorce. It cannot exceed the length of the marriage, which at most, would be a maximum award of 17 years.
What Factors Will the Court Take into Consideration When Granting Alimony?
When determining whether or not alimony will be granted in a divorce, the court will take a variety of pertinent factors into consideration. First, they will assess each party's financial needs and their ability to pay alimony. Should a judge decide that spousal maintenance would be appropriate, they would then need to determine what form of alimony would best suit the divorcing couple's needs.
In order to do so, Florida Code §61.08 states that they must take the following into consideration:
- The standard of living that was established during the marriage
- How long the marriage lasted (must be less than 17 years for durational alimony)
- The age and physical and emotional condition of each spouse
- Each party's financial resources – including marital and non-marital assets
- The earning capabilities & educational levels of each party
- Each party's contribution to the marriage (i.e. homemaking, child care, education)
- The adulterous tendencies of either spouse during the marriage
Can Durational Alimony Be Modified or Terminated?
Since durational alimony is meant to provide economic assistance for a designated period of time, it can be difficult to modify or terminate these payments without a justifiable reason. That is not to say that it cannot be done, however, as there are three specific circumstances in which you would be able to seek a modification: 1) there has been a substantial change in circumstances, 2) your former spouse has remarried or 3) your former spouse has died.
Aside from this, the length of durational alimony will run its course until it has reached its pre-determined expiration date. If you believe that you have legitimate grounds to request a modification or termination, the legal team at Charles E. Willmott, P.A. encourages you to retain the help of a lawyer. In doing so, you will have the opportunity to present a strong case to the court.
Speak with Charles E. Willmott About Your Case
If you have recently decided to terminate your marriage in Florida, it is imperative that you seek the experienced guidance of a lawyer from Charles E. Willmott, P.A. While the family court system is required to handle your case objectively, it is also true that aggressive legal representation can make a significant difference—especially when dealing with contentious matters like alimony.
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