The concept of permanent alimony is a frightening proposition for many breadwinning spouses who are getting divorced from a long time spouse. In fact, it can be a reason or deterrent for people filing for divorce, who have been the higher earning spouse in a marriage. Permanent alimony in Florida is a rebuttable presumption in divorces for marriages when the spouses have been married more than 17 years, which means that the court is more likely than not, assume that in cases where two spouses have been married for at least 17 years, that the spouse that has earned less or stayed home may be entitled to support for the remainder of his or her life, if the spouse can show that they have a need for alimony. What it does NOT mean is that if you are married for 17 years that a spouse is entitled to alimony, regardless of the facts and circumstances.
In determining whether to award alimony, the court must first consider if the party requesting shows a need for alimony, after considering not only the incomes of the parties, but also in how the debt and assets from the marriage are being divided between the parties. If the court does find that one spouse has a need for alimony, the court next examines whether the higher paid spouse has the ability to pay alimony, considering their income, expenses, and also the division of assets and liabilities in the marriage.
If the court finds that there is a need and ability to pay, next the court will examine the statutory factors to determine an alimony amount, which include: