Dates To Keep In Mind When Seeking Alimony
Certain parts of the divorce process are dictated, at least in part, by a few specific dates. Because these dates can play such a significant role in a divorce, especially in regards to alimony determinations, divorcing couples should be sure to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale alimony lawyer, who can explain what kinds of information they will need to provide to the court.
Why are Dates Important?
In everyday life, the lengths of our relationships can be measured in a number of different ways. One couple, for instance, may consider their first date as the beginning of their relationship, while others may calculate from the day that they began living together. Basically, for informal purposes, a couple can choose any significant date that they want, up to the present day, when measuring the length of their relationship. This is not, however, the case in divorce proceedings, where courts are primarily interested in the duration of a marriage, which is calculated from the date of marriage until the date of the divorce filing. This means that even if a couple was in a serious relationship, lived together, or even shared children before actually tying the knot, the court will probably not consider that time period when calculating alimony.
The Date of Marriage
There are two dates that are particularly important in determining alimony. The first of these dates is when a couple was legally married, as proven by a legal marriage certificate. It is this date that will largely dictate the type of alimony that a person is entitled to upon divorce. When a marriage lasts longer than 17 years, for instance, courts will presume that permanent alimony is appropriate for a lesser earning spouse. In fact, there is even a presumption against this form of alimony when a marriage lasts fewer than seven years.
The Date of the Divorce Filing
The second most important date when attempting to determine alimony is the date that the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage was filed in court. This date essentially marks the end of a marriage for alimony purposes. In Florida, if this date indicates that a marriage lasted less than seven years, then a marriage will be considered short-term, while unions of between seven and 17 years qualify as moderate term marriages and marriages lasting more than 17 years are defined as long-term. The burden of proof required to substantiate an alimony award will depend on how long a couple’s marriage is, with those in short-term marriages facing the most difficulty in obtaining alimony.
For these reasons, it is important for couples to understand the repercussions of either filing for divorce too soon or filing too late. A person who is only a few months away from a 17 year anniversary, for instance, and is the lesser earning spouse, may want to hold off on filing for divorce until they reach the 17 year mark.
Contact Our Legal Team for Help
Evidence of certain dates will play a key role in your divorce-related alimony determinations. To learn more, please call dedicated Florida alimony lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.