Is Your Divorce Case A Candidate For Permanent Alimony?
Standup comedians have been mining divorce and alimony for material for decades, but most of their jokes are based on premises that no longer hold true. First, Florida is an equitable distribution state, so your ex will not necessarily get half of the marital property; equitable distribution means that the court gives each party whatever share of the marital property it deems fair, based on each party’s financial needs and earning capacity. Second, the cases where one spouse has to pay alimony are the exception rather than the rule, and very rarely do you have to continue paying alimony for more than a few years. If your spouse is requesting alimony, a Tampa alimony lawyer can help ensure that the alimony award is fair to both parties.
The Six Types of Alimony in Florida
Florida law categorizes alimony into six different types, which vary in duration and purpose:
- Temporary alimony – the court orders the wealthier spouse to deposit money into the marital bank account each month to continue paying household bills. It automatically ends when the divorce becomes final, but if your divorce case drags on and on, so does temporary alimony.
- Bridge the gap alimony – It begins when the divorce is finalized and lasts 24 months or less. Its purpose is to give the financially disadvantaged spouse a short deadline by which to reenter the workforce.
- Rehabilitative alimony – The court orders this alimony when the financially disadvantaged spouse needs additional education before reentering the workforce, such as completing a vocational certificate program or reactivating a lapsed professional license. The duration of the alimony depends on how long it will take before the recipient spouse has completed the program and can reenter the workforce.
- Lump sum alimony – This is a one-time payment where one spouse buys the other out of their share in the marital home. In some cases, the court will let you pay the amount in installments, but once you have paid the court-ordered amount, your alimony obligations are finished.
- Durational alimony – This is like permanent alimony, except not permanent. The wealthier spouse pays the recipient spouse a set amount each month until a certain number of months have gone by. The alimony obligations cannot last longer than the duration of the marriage.
- Permanent alimony – The wealthier spouse pays the recipient spouse a set amount each month until one of them dies or the recipient spouse remarries.
Eligibility Requirements for Permanent Alimony
The court only orders permanent alimony when the recipient spouse cannot work and would be destitute without it. Most permanent alimony recipients are unable to work because of age or disabilities. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the court only orders permanent alimony when the marriage lasts 17 years or longer.
Contact Our Tampa Divorce Lawyers at Bubley & Bubley
Alimony awards are only fair if they provide adequate financial support for the recipient spouse without causing undue financial hardship to the supporting spouse; an alimony lawyer can help ensure that your alimony obligations are not excessive. Contact Bubley & Bubley in Tampa, Florida to discuss your case.