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Could I be Eligible for a Permanent Alimony Award if My Marriage Doesn’t Qualify as Long Term?


Whether a court decides to award alimony in a particular case depends on a number of factors, one of which is the length of the marriage in question. In fact, some types of alimony are only considered in cases that involve marriages of a certain length. Permanent periodic alimony payments, for instance, are only awarded in situations where the marriage being terminated had existed for 17 years or more. This rule, however, is only a presumption, which means that technically, it can be overcome in certain cases. To learn more about Florida’s permanent alimony presumption and whether you could qualify for this type of alimony award, please contact an experienced alimony lawyer who is well-versed in state law and can advise you accordingly.

When is Permanent Alimony Awarded?

In Florida, marriages of seven or less years are deemed short term, while unions lasting more than seven, but less than 17 years are considered moderate. Marriages of 17 years or more, however, are defined as long term. Generally, it is only when a couple’s marriage qualifies as long term that a court will award permanent alimony to one of the spouses. While it is possible for those whose marriages lasted for fewer than 17 years to collect permanent alimony, doing so can be difficult, especially without the aid of an attorney.

Collecting Permanent Alimony After Moderate and Short Term Marriages 

Typically, Florida courts are only willing to award permanent alimony to those who need financial assistance to meet their needs and whose marriages qualify as long term. Courts are permitted, however, to award permanent alimony if the marriage being dissolved was of moderate duration, meaning that it lasted between seven and 17 years. Still, this will only be permitted when the petitioning party can provide clear and convincing evidence that such an award is appropriate. Similarly, permanent alimony can even be awarded upon the dissolution of a short term marriage, although this is extremely rare, as it requires a written finding of exceptional circumstances.

When determining whether an award of alimony is appropriate in these cases, even when a marriage lasted for fewer than 17 years, the courts look to a wide range of factors, but focus primarily on:

  • The standard of living during the marriage;
  • Whether there is a significant disparity in income between the parties;
  • The age and health of the parties;
  • Each party’s earning capacity, education level, and employability; and
  • Each party’s contribution to the marriage, including services rendered in childcare.

Courts will also assess whether the parties entered into an agreement, wherein one spouse would stay home to provide childcare for the couples children, as well as whether the requesting spouse’s ability to support him or herself was damaged in some way as a result of the marriage.

Contact Our Office by Phone or Online Message

For help determining whether you could qualify for permanent alimony, despite your lack of a long term marriage, please call dedicated Fort Lauderdale alimony lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today. We can be reached by calling 954-945-7591 or by online message.


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