Alimony in a Divorce Case

The financial impact of a divorce is no secret. When a couple decides to separate or end their marriage, it isn't just their relationshipthat is severed. Financial support can be essential if a person is unemployed or earns much less than their spouse, but divorce courts have taken this into account. If you want to begin divorce proceedings, alimony is an important consideration. Contact a divorce lawyer at the Coye Law Firm for more information on what alimony payments mean and how much they may be in your situation. Whether you anticipate paying or receiving alimony, call our attorneys today for a consultation. 

What is Alimony?

Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is a form of financial support paid from one spouse to another after they become divorced. During the course of a marriage, spouses have a financial relationship as well as a personal relationship. Sharing finances can create a standard of living that the couple is used to. A person may want alimony in order to maintain the lifestyle they were used to when they were married. There are four types of alimony in Florida, according to the intention of the monthly payment:
  • Bridge the gap alimony helps provide support for a spouse as they transition from married to single life.
  • Rehabilitative alimony provides support to the spouse who needs vocational training in order to become self-sufficient.
  • Permanent alimony is paid after a long marriage until the spouse earning less income remarries or dies.
  • Durational alimony is paid for a certain amount of time following a short or moderate-term marriage.

Alimony vs. Child Support

Child support is a monthly payment to provide financial support for a child, while alimony is financial support for a former spouse. These two obligations are separate and cannot be combined or reduced simply because the other one exists. When a person falls behind on either of these payments, it is referred to as an "arrear." 

Determining Alimony

A number of factors aside from a couple's financial situation go into calculating alimony. These factors include:
  • the income of each person
  • how long the couple was married
  • how long the couple was separated before divorcing
  • health of each person
  • age of each person
  • anticipated future financial standing
  • why the marriage ended
  • if adultery took place

Gender is also an important consideration in determining alimony. Although some may believe that only women receive alimony, it can also be granted to men. Some divorce courts are more likely to grant alimony to women because, in many cultures, they earn less than men. When a marriage ends, this pay difference can affect the woman's standard of living, so alimony can come into play. In any event, both the man and the woman may have a right to petition for alimony if they need it. Under Florida's alimony law ( §FL 61.08 ), alimony payments may be periodic or lump sum. After a judge or divorce court looks at the facts of the relationship and each spouse, they will determine an amount for alimony. The Coye Law Firm knows that divorce is not easy for anyone, emotionally or financially. If you are getting a divorce and seeking alimony, or anticipate paying alimony, you may need an attorney to protect your rights. Call our offices today at 407-649-4940 to speak with someone about your concerns.