Alimony in Florida can take several forms. Alimony can only be awarded between spouses. Alimony is not used to punish a particular spouse and alimony is not utilized as a punitive measure. Plainly, a Court requiring alimony payments is akin to that Court recognizing that one party needs financial support and the other party is able to provide that support. Alimony is oftentimes used to level the playing field so to speak; however, its purpose is not to equalize the parties’ incomes or excess resources. Determining the amount and duration of potential alimony payments is a heavily fact intensive issue and will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Know Your Rights
Florida Courts have decided that the length of your marriage is an important factor in determining whether an award of alimony is reasonable. In Florida, there are three (3) marriage term lengths: A short-term marriage is a marriage that lasts less than seven (7) years; a moderate-term marriage is a marriage that lasts seven (7) years or more, but fewer than seventeen (17) years; and, a long-term marriage is a marriage that lasts seventeen (17) years or more.
There are five (5) types of alimony in Florida:
First is “Temporary Alimony.” This is alimony that is awarded during the pendency of the divorce action. Oftentimes called temporary support or maintenance, this form of alimony automatically ends when the divorce action is concluded.
Second is “Bridge-the-Gap Alimony.” This form of alimony is often utilized to assists a spouses transition from being married to being single. This form of alimony cannot last more than two (2) years.
Your Attorney’s Obligation To You
Your attorney’s obligation is to be your staunchest representative and an officer of the Court. We will provide you with the most practical and straightforward advice available in assessing each client’s situations and goals.
Attorney Client Privilege
In Florida, the attorney-client privilege is codified in Section 90.502, Florida Statutes. This law states that, generally, communications between a client and their attorney are confidential. In other words, without a legal waiver or other specific exceptions, you and/or your attorney cannot be compelled to disclose communications made in performing our services.
Relationship Based On Trust
From the initial consult through the final hearing, it is of the utmost importance for attorneys and clients to be truthful with one another and for there to be trust between them. The pair are a team and trust is essential. We believe in being transparent with our clients and we cannot afford to be surprised at any time in a case because a client has failed to be transparent with us. If the idea should ever cross your mind and you question, Should I tell my attorney this? The answer should always be, Yes – we are available to then tell you if “this” may be an issue.
Your Attorney’s Role
An attorney may have several roles throughout a case, especially in family law. We may be your representative, your advocate, your advisor, an/or your counselor.
Third is “Rehabilitative Alimony.” This form of alimony can be applied to assist a spouse to seek new education, job training, or other vocational assistance which would allow that spouse to become self-supporting in the long term.
Fourth is “Durational Alimony.” This is the most common form of alimony used by the Courts. Durational Alimony is oftentimes utilized in both short and moderate-term marriages. Durational Alimony calls for payments to be made at regular intervals over a set period of time. The length of Durational Alimony payments cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
Fifth is “Permanent Alimony.” In long term marriages there is a presumption of permanent alimony. This is, of course, a rebuttable presumption. Permanent Alimony may sometimes be awarded in moderate-term marriages, depending upon the parties’ circumstances; and, Permanent Alimony may be awarded in a short-term marriage based upon exceptional or extraordinary circumstances.
In the cases of Bridge-the-Gap Alimony, Durational Alimony, and Permanent Alimony the payments will no longer be required should the receiving spouse dies, remarries, or enters into a supportive relationship akin to a marriage. Rehabilitative Alimony does not terminate in such circumstances.
To get an even better idea of whether alimony may be applicable to your circumstances, please feel free to contact us and schedule a consult with Mr. Gregory M. Ruster, Esq. and/or Mr. C. Garrett Gaa, Esq. to discuss your specific situation. All cases are factually unique and a case-by-case analysis is the only true way to determine if alimony is applicable to your situation. With many years of experience in alimony law in Lakeland FL and beyond, our knowledge will be to your benefit.