Is Alimony Always Awarded After Divorce?
Alimony, or spousal support, is a type of financial support that is paid from a former partner to another following divorce. However, alimony is not awarded in every divorce. In fact, spousal support is generally only awarded when certain factors are met, so if you and your partner have decided to divorce and you have questions about spousal maintenance, you should speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale alimony lawyer who can address your concerns.
Spousal Support is Not Guaranteed
Florida courts don’t automatically award spousal maintenance. Instead, judges are directed to determine whether spousal support is appropriate by assessing the actual need for maintenance and whether either party has the ability to pay. There are also a number of different types of alimony, each of which is structured to suit the circumstances of the parties in question.
Types of Alimony
There are a few different types of alimony in Florida, including:
- Bridge-the-Gap alimony, which is a form of transitional spousal support, covers short-term needs, and is limited to two years;
- Rehabilitative alimony, which is another type of short-term maintenance and is specifically designed to help a lesser earning spouse transition to self-sufficiency upon divorce;
- Durational alimony, which lasts for a predetermined period of time, but cannot exceed a length of time that is equal to the duration of the marriage; and
- Permanent alimony, which is typically only awarded after the end of a long-term marriage and, as the name suggests, lasts indefinitely.
Which of these kinds of alimony is awarded in a divorce case depends on the specific circumstances of the couple in question, as well as the application of a few important factors. If, for instance, a couple was married for many years, it is much more likely that a court will order permanent alimony. If, on the other hand, a couple was only married for a few years and one spouse was the primary earner, a court would be more likely to award bridge-the-gap or rehabilitative alimony. The amount of these awards, however, will also largely be dictated by the application of a few specific factors.
When determining whether alimony is appropriate, courts assess a wide range of issues and factors, including:
- The duration of the marriage;
- Both parties’ standard of living during the marriage;
- The future financial outlook of each party; and
- Both partners’ contributions to the marriage.
These factors will require the assessment of specific details about a couple’s situation, including whether either party is employed and if so, how much they earn, as well as the parties’ employability or job prospects. Ultimately, alimony determinations are made on a case-by-case basis, making it especially important for those who are considering divorce to speak with an attorney before filing.
Call a Fort Lauderdale Alimony Lawyer for Help
If you have questions about when alimony can be awarded in Florida, contact our firm to learn more. You can reach dedicated Florida alimony lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. by calling 954-945-7591 today.