How Long Will My Alimony Payments Last?
One of the many issues that couples have to contend with before their divorces can be finalized is whether one of the parties will be required to make alimony payments to the other, and if so, the amount, form, and duration that those payments will take. The details of an alimony award will depend on the couple’s circumstances, but could last anywhere from a few years to decades.
Who Pays Alimony?
Florida judges consider a lot of different factors when determining which, if any, spouse is required to pay alimony. These factors include:
- The length of the marriage;
- The couple’s standard of living during the marriage;
- Both parties’ incomes;
- Whether one spouse gave up certain opportunities (professional, educational, etc.) to support the couple’s children or the other spouse’s career; and
- The parties’ general health.
How these factors weigh out in a case will depend on the couple’s specific circumstances, but generally, a lesser earning spouse can expect to receive some form of financial support from the other, even if on a temporary basis.
The duration of alimony payments is partly limited by the length of a couple’s marriage. For a short-term marriage, for instance, or a marriage lasting less than seven years, a lesser earning spouse can generally expect to receive alimony for a shorter period of time, while those whose marriages lasted between seven and 17 years (moderate-term) may receive an award for a longer duration. With short and moderate-term marriages, judges are more likely to award certain types of alimony, including:
- Temporary alimony support, which is awarded only for the duration of the proceedings and ends when the divorce is finalized;
- Bridge-the-gap alimony, which can last no longer than two years and is intended to help a lesser earning spouse become self sufficient;
- Rehabilitative alimony, which is also a short-term and transitional type of award that helps lesser earning spouses until they receive the education or credentials they need to obtain higher paying employment; and
- Durational alimony, which cannot be ordered for an amount of time longer than a couple’s marriage.
The end of a long-term marriage, or a marriage that lasted more than 17 years, is the most likely to result in a different type of alimony award, known as permanent alimony. These types of payments must be made until one of the parties passes away or the recipient remarries.
Under Florida law, it is possible for divorced couples to modify or even terminate their alimony awards if:
- One of the parties passes away;
- The recipient begins a supportive relationship with someone with whom he or she lives; or
- One of the parties has undergone a substantial change in circumstances, such as a job loss or illness.
Modifying an alimony award can be an uphill battle, but it is possible with the help of an experienced attorney.
A Florida Alimony Lawyer Can Help
For help determining what type of alimony award you could be entitled to upon divorce, reach out to dedicated and compassionate Florida alimony lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.