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Stay-at-Home Spouses and Filing for Divorce


Although the divorce process does not vary based on the parties’ occupations, stay-at-home spouses do face unique difficulties. For example, spouses who chose to halt their career in favor of supporting their partner and raising children must immediately begin addressing concerns about financial support. This often manifests as concern over the feasibility of returning to work, obtaining additional education or training, or having to place a child in daycare or hire a nanny. These considerations can become even more stressful when staying in the family home is no longer possible, as the affected parties will also need to find a new, affordable place to live. For these reasons, stay-at-home spouses often face a substantial amount of both emotional and financial stress during divorce. Fortunately, these individuals do have options, including the payment of alimony by the other spouse. To learn more about these and other possible solutions for your family, please contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney who can represent you.

Spousal Support  

Fortunately, stay-at-home spouses may be eligible for alimony, although it is important to note that alimony awards are usually only temporary, which makes it especially important for the receiving spouse to find an alternative revenue stream at some point. Furthermore, stay-at-home spouses do not automatically receive alimony until the family law judge orders it after holding a number of hearings or if the other spouse chooses to offer it voluntarily.

Types of Alimony  

There are six types of alimony in Florida:

  • Durational alimony, which is awarded when permanent alimony is inappropriate and gives the receiving party economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short duration;
  • Temporary alimony, which is awarded to ensure that household expenses are paid while a divorce is pending;
  • Bridge the gap alimony, which is designed to help the recipient provide for short-term needs while he or she transitions to being single and cannot be ordered for more than two years;
  • Lump sum alimony, which involves the payment of an amount agreed to on a prior occasion either all at once or in installments;
  • Rehabilitative alimony, which is used by courts to help stay-at-home spouses become self-supporting by developing skills or obtaining credentials or additional education; and
  • Permanent periodic alimony, which provides for support based on the standard of living established during the marriage until one of the parties passes away or the recipient remarries.

Courts have discretion to award one or more types of alimony in divorce cases, although when doing so they are required to comply with specific guidelines that help determine how much alimony should be awarded and for how long. During this analysis, courts will take whether a spouse stayed at home to provide childcare or help run a family business into consideration before making a determination. Unless a marriage exceeded 17 years, most stay-at-home spouses can expect to be awarded durational, bridge the gap, or rehabilitative alimony.

Contact a Dedicated Divorce Attorney 

If you are a stay-at-home spouse and are going through a divorce, you may be concerned about the financial well-being of you and your children. Fortunately, you do have options, so please call 954-945-7591 to speak with experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. about your next steps.



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