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How is Alimony Determined in Florida? 

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Going through a divorce leads to several questions, but one of the most frequently asked is if a person will have to pay alimony (spousal support) or if they are entitled to any. While there is no set formula for alimony in Florida, there are some guidelines provided.  

First the basics, what is alimony? 

Alimony is the court ordered financial support one spouse must give another during and/or after a divorce for a certain amount of time. Pursuant to Florida Statute, 61.08, “in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may grant alimony to either party … and order periodic payments… 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.”The idea is that if one party worked while the other maintained the home, that person would require ongoing funds to maintain a similar lifestyle after divorce. In some cases, it may be more difficult for one spouse to make ends meet after the divorce, and they may request alimony payments from their spouse. 

The Types of Alimony  

Florida allows for five different types of alimony: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent. Many couples agree on the terms of alimony, but when they do not, a judge will step in and decide for them. 

  • Temporary alimony provides income for the spouse in need during the divorce. 
  • Bridge-the-Gap alimony provides income during the transition from a married person to a single. 
  • Rehabilitative alimony is when one spouse does not make enough to support themselves, and this income helps them as they devise a plan to fix the problem. 
  • Durational alimony offers financial aid to one spouse for a specific agreed-upon length of time. After that, it will end. 
  • Permanent alimony is in place until either party dies or remarries and it is intended to provide for the under-funded spouse indefinitely. 

What are the factors the court will consider in awarding or denying alimony? 

Pursuant to Florida statute 61.08, Factors that court shall consider when determining the amount and type of alimony include:  

  1. The standard of living established during the marriage. 
  2. The duration of the marriage. 
  3. The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party. 
  4. The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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. 
  7. The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common. 
  8. 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. 
  9. All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party; and  
  10. Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties. 

How much alimony will you receive? 

In determining the amount of alimony, a court will look at the lifestyle the parties had throughout their marriage, whether the spouse requesting alimony has a need to maintain this lifestyle and then determine if the other spouse has the ability to satisfy all or part of that need. The award of alimony may not leave the paying party destitute or unable to support themselves. 

What is considered need depends on the circumstances. Generally, the Court’s intention when awarding alimony is that both parties can maintain the standard of living as close to the one, they had during the marriage. Alimony is awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life to the party that lacks the ability to do so themselves. Sometimes a court will award rehabilitative alimony to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials. 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. 

If a party has legitimate and identifiable short-term needs, a court might award alimony to provide support to allow the party to make a transition from being married to being single. This is known as bridge-the-gap alimony and cannot exceed two years. 

Can alimony be terminated or modified?  

If there is a permanent and substantial change in circumstances since the alimony order was entered, either spouse may request that the court modify the amount and or type of alimony. The circumstances and process of modifying differ for each type of alimony and if you are interested in doing the same it is important to reach out to an experienced attorney to assist. 

Understanding alimony in Florida is vital for navigating divorce. Types of alimony, from temporary to permanent, address different needs and are influenced by factors like marriage duration, financial resources, and parental responsibilities. Courts consider both parties’ standards of living and the paying spouse’s ability to maintain this standard without hardship. Modifications to alimony can be made with significant life changes. For guidance on alimony and to ensure your rights are protected, starting with our prequalification form can help simplify this process.


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