Florida Divorce: Alimony & Spousal Support

In Florida divorces involving alimony, several elements must be met for alimony to be awarded. The Florida Statute regarding alimony sets out 5 types of different alimony available so that different levels of support may be granted. In Florida, alimony can come in the following forms:
1.Permanent: which is self explanatory, but does have limitations for future changes.
2. Lump Sum: basically getting a large amount either at one time or over the course of years.
3. Temporary: again, self explanatory.
4. Rehabilitative: This is used when one spouse has put their career or education on hold, or is need of further training, education, etc. to get a job or a higher paying position.
5. Bridge the Gap: This is designed to provide support from married life to single life and the transitions that one goes through during that time.

Each type of alimony has several basic elements and each element must be proven to achieve an award. Alimony is governed by Florida Statute 61.08 which states that factors the court should consider are:

1. The standard of living established during the marriage.
2. The duration of the marriage.
3. The age and physical and emotional condition of each party.
4. The financial resources of each party, the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each party.
5. 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. All sources of income available to each party.

Most types of alimony require the elements of need and ability to pay. For example, one spouse must show a need for alimony monies coupled with the other party’s ability to pay it. The length of the marriage is a statutory factor to consider but not considered to be an element. Permanent alimony is presumed to be where the parties were in equal financial circumstances appropriate in long-term marriages, (over approximately 12 years) but a time element is not necessary for an award of permanent alimony.

At the present time, Florida does not have a standard alimony mathematical calculator to plug in the numbers and pull up the appropriate payment form. However, the legislature is presently working to provide practitioners with an alimony calculator similar to that of the child support payment calculator.