Am I Eligible For Alimony?
Alimony is a type of payment that is paid by one former spouse to another and is often awarded upon the dissolution of marriage. However, judges only award this type of financial support if the petitioner has a legitimate need for it and if the other party has the ability to pay it. Courts can order alimony for an indefinite period of time or for a specific and limited time, depending on the parties’ circumstances, so if you have questions about whether you could be eligible for financial support after divorce, it is important to contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale alimony lawyer for help.
Determining the Type of Alimony Award
There are four types of alimony awards that courts can issue in Florida. Which type is awarded will depend on a couple’s situation, including how long they were married and their standard of living. Options include:
- Bridge-the-gap alimony, which is intended to help a lesser earning spouse meet specific short-term needs, cannot be modified, and can’t last longer than two years, although it can be terminated if the recipient gets remarried;
- Rehabilitative alimony, which is also awarded to help recipient spouses gain the ability to support themselves through the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials by covering the cost of education, training, or work experience and are only awarded in cases where there is a specific and defined rehabilitative plan;
- Durational alimony, which provides the recipient spouse with financial assistance for a specific period of time, the duration of which is dictated partly by the length of the marriage; and
- Permanent alimony, which provides for a spouse’s needs and necessities as they were established during the marriage, but only if the recipient spouse lacks the financial ability to meet those needs and the marriage lasted longer than 17 years.
Besides deciding which type of alimony is appropriate in a particular case, Florida judges are also tasked with determining the amount and form of the payments.
Determining the Amount
Judges take a number of factors into account when deciding the amount of an alimony award, including:
- Whether the marriage qualifies as short-term, moderate, or long-term;
- The standard of living during the marriage;
- The ages and physical conditions of the parties;
- The parties’ financial resources, including how marital assets will be divided;
- Both parties’ earning potential, educational levels, career history, and employability;
- Each party’s contributions to the marriage, including not only income, but also childcare and career building;
- The parties’ incomes; and
- Any responsibilities towards the couple’s minor children.
If awarded, alimony could take the form of a lump sum payment, or a regular, monthly installment. The amount will partly dictate what form these payments take.
Call Our Experienced Legal Team for Help with Your Divorce
The amount of alimony that a court decides on will vary depending on the facts of the case. For help estimating what kind of alimony award you could be eligible for upon divorce, reach out to our office today. You can set up a free consultation with dedicated Florida alimony lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. by calling 954-945-7591, or by completing one of our online contact forms.