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Factors Influencing Alimony Awards in Orlando

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When is Alimony Awarded in Florida?

Family law judges do not always award alimony in a Florida divorce. In fact, spousal support is awarded in a minority of divorces. The courts consider the matter on a case-by-case basis. Before alimony is awarded, the need of one spouse and the ability to pay the other spouse must be demonstrated to the court. Family law judges are required under state law to make a “specific factual determination” on these two questions.

What Factors Do the Courts Consider in Determining Alimony Awards?

Once need and ability to pay have been established, the court will consider all relevant factors in determining the type and amount of alimony to award, including:

  • Length of the marriage
  • The couple’s standard of living during the marriage
  • Age of each party
  • Physical and emotional health of each spouse
  • Education, skills, employability, and earning capacity of each party
  • Time needed for either spouse to acquire enough education or training to gain appropriate employment
  • Each party’s financial resources, including marital property, are distributed to that party
  • Income available to each spouse, including income from investments
  • Contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including financial contributions and services such as childcare, homemaking, and building the career of the other spouse
  • Responsibilities of each party for any minor children of the couple
  • Tax treatment and consequences of spousal support for both parties

The court may consider adultery of either spouse in determining whether to award alimony and how much to award. When the court issues an order for alimony, it must include a statement of what factors it found to support awarding or denying spousal support.

What Types of Alimony Are Possible with Recent Changes in Florida Law?

When Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill (SB) 1416 into law on June 30, 2023, the option for family court judges to award permanent alimony was eliminated in Florida. The four types of alimony remaining under the new law are:

  • Temporary alimony: A lower-earning spouse going through divorce proceedings may be awarded temporary alimony to provide financial support between filing the petition for divorce and the entry of the final decree dissolving the marriage. This support terminates once the divorce is final.
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony: This short-term spousal support is limited in duration to two years. Its purpose is to facilitate the transition from married life to single life. Bridge-the-gap alimony is meant to cover specific short-term financial needs immediately after a
  • Rehabilitative alimony: This type of spousal support is intended to help a former spouse gain a capacity for self-support comparable to the standard of living established during the marriage. This may be accomplished through gaining education, training, or work experience or through the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials. The maximum duration for rehabilitative alimony under the law is five years.
  • Durational alimony: The only longer-term spousal support available under the new law is durational alimony. It is intended to provide financial support for a dependent or disadvantaged spouse for a predetermined period. The duration of this type of alimony is capped according to the length of the marriage.

How Much Does the Length of the Marriage Affect Alimony in Orlando?

The duration of an alimony award may not exceed the length of the marriage in Florida. When a marriage lasts less than three years, divorcing spouses are not eligible for alimony. The length of the marriage is a principal factor family court judges consider in determining whether to award alimony, how much to award, and how long the payments will continue.

For durational alimony, caps on the duration of spousal support are predetermined based on the length of the marriage as follows:

  • Short-term marriage: Any marriage that lasts less than 10 years is considered short-term for spousal support purposes. Durational alimony is capped at 50% of the length of the marriage. For example, if a couple who were married for nine years divorces, the duration of alimony payments may not exceed 4.5 years.
  • Moderate-term marriage: A marriage that lasts for more than 10 and less than 20 years is categori ed as moderate-term. Durational alimony for marriages in this category is limited to 60% of the length of the marriage. For example, if alimony is awarded after a 15-year marriage, payments will continue for no more than nine years.
  • Long-term marriage: A marriage that lasts for more than 20 years is considered long-term for alimony purposes. When a marriage in this category is dissolved, the cap on durational alimony is 75% of the length of the marriage. For example, after a 35-year marriage, a party could be awarded spousal support for up to 26.25 years.

How Can The Law Office of Erin Morse Help With Alimony Matters in Orlando?

Alimony in Florida is a complex legal area that became more complicated with recent changes to the law. Whether you are seeking spousal support or seeking to reduce or terminate alimony payments, your best chance of obtaining the outcome you need is to have an experienced Orlando divorce and alimony lawyer handling your cases. At The Law Office of Erin Morse, we are well-versed in Florida alimony law and ready to fight to protect your best interests. Contact us today at (407) 743-6059.

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