Law Offices of Renée Safier Harris, PLLC

Support Through Life’s Transitions – The Alimony Law Experts

Divorce isn’t just about the emotional separation; it’s often accompanied by a financial separation as well. At the Law Offices of Renee Safier Harris, PLLC, we understand the complexities involved when alimony comes into play. With over [xx years] dedicated to family law and guiding clients through alimony proceedings, we have the experience to protect your rights and provide you with knowledgeable legal counsel.

Whether you are seeking temporary support or temporary alimony during a divorce or need assistance determining longer-term alimony or spousal support, our Boca Raton alimony lawyers have handled the full range of alimony matters. We take the time to understand your unique situation in order to build an effective legal strategy customized to your needs. 

Don’t go through this transition alone – contact our compassionate and top-notch legal team today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist with your alimony case.

What is Alimony?

In Florida, alimony (also known as spousal support) serves as a mechanism to address the financial disparities that often arise as a result of a divorce. Simply put, it’s a court-ordered payment from one spouse to another to provide financial support for a period of time and in a certain amount. However, the concept extends far beyond a mere exchange of funds; it aims to ensure that both parties can maintain a comparable standard of living post-separation.

Alimony isn’t a one-size-fits-all arrangement; its nature, duration, and amount can vary widely depending on numerous factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial resources and earning capacity, and even their contributions to the marriage. The two primary factors the court must consider in determining the amount of alimony to award is the need of the receiving spouse and the financial ability of the paying spouse to pay.

There are several different types of alimony including temporary alimony, durational alimony, rehabilitative alimony and bridge-the-gap alimony, as explained below. 

Length of Marriage

The length of one’s marriage may affect the duration of one’s alimony award from the Court and determines whether or not a person is even eligible to receive alimony.

  • A short-term marriage under Florida law is a marriage that lasts less than 10 years.
  • A moderate-term marriage is one that lasts between 10 and 20 years.
  • A long-term marriage is one that lasts 20 years or more.

To be eligible to receive alimony, your marriage must have lasted at least three years.

Factors for Determining Alimony

After the court finds that there is both a need for alimony and the ability to pay, the judge will determine which type of alimony to award. To reach this decision, Florida judges must consider all the below factors:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • Both spouse’s financial resources, including the non-marital, marital property, assets, and liabilities
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity, educational level, vocational skills, and employability and, if applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to find employment
  • Both spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including homemaking, childcare, education, and career-building of the other spouse
  • Whether either spouse will have parental responsibilities to minor children
  • Tax consequences of alimony, if any, to both spouses
  • All sources of income to both spouses, including income available through investments
  • Any other factor the court deems necessary to create a fair alimony award

Types of Alimony in Florida

In Florida, there are four different types of alimony that may be awarded.

  • Temporary Alimony: awarded to a spouse to assist them in meeting their necessary expenses during the divorce proceedings.
  • Durational Alimony: provides a spouse with financial assistance after the divorce for a set period of time, depending on the length of marriage, as long as the marriage lasted at least three years from the date of marriage to the date that a petition for divorce is filed.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: to assist a spouse in becoming self-supporting, by either redeveloping skills or credentials, or by acquiring the necessary education, training, or experience to develop new employment.
  • Bridge the Gap Alimony: to assist a spouse in meeting specific short-term needs while making the transition from married to single life.

These four types of alimony payments may be paid either in one lump-sum payment or as periodic payments over time.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

The time limits on the duration of alimony payments depend on the type of alimony that is awarded.

Temporary alimony, as stated above, is awarded only for the divorce proceedings. This means that temporary alimony ends once the divorce is final, unless the court finds that there is reason to terminate the alimony sooner.

Durational alimony is capped depending on the length of the marriage. The payments may not exceed 50% of the length of a short-term marriage, 60% of the length of a moderate-term marriage, and 75% of the length of a long-term marriage. The length of time may only be extended under exceptional circumstances.

Bridge-the-gap alimony may not exceed two years. This type of alimony will end sooner if either spouse dies or if the spouse receiving the alimony remarries.

In addition to the above, if the spouse who is receiving alimony remarries, then the legal obligation of the spouse who is paying the alimony should be terminated.  If the spouse who is receiving alimony is involved in an intimate relationship where that person is being supported by another person, then the alimony amount may be able to be reduced by the court or terminated entirely.

Retirement by the person who pays alimony may also be a reason to ask the Court to decrease alimony or terminate alimony. 

These are not simple issues and your circumstances or your case require legal counsel to understand all of the nuances that may be involved in your case.  Law Offices of Renée Safier Harris, PLLC can assist you in all of these issues. 

Change in Alimony Laws as of July 1, 2023

As of July 1, 2023, the Florida legislature changed the alimony laws for all divorces pending as of July 1, 2023 and for cases filed after July 1, 2023. 

The most significant change in the law is that it removed permanent alimony as an option in divorce cases.  As a result, the Courts in Florida can no longer award permanent alimony to a spouse in a divorce case that was either in the process as of July 1, 2023 or the case was filed after July 1, 2023.

Other changes were also made to alimony calculation that will need to be addressed in a divorce case or in any case that is filed seeking to change a previous alimony award to a spouse in a post-judgment modification proceeding. 

Can Alimony Be Changed?

Modifying alimony in Florida depends on the type of alimony that is awarded. Modifying temporary alimony may be done by a judge only until the divorce is final, however there must be a good reason for the change.

Durational alimony may only be modified in the event there has been a substantial change in circumstances. The most common examples include a significant change in income or an involuntary loss of employment or a new relationship.

Rehabilitative alimony, similarly, may be modified before the award is set to expire in there has been a significant change in circumstances, the receiving spouse fails to follow the rehabilitation plan, or the receiving spouse has completed the rehabilitative plan before the end date of the award.

Bridge-the-gap alimony, however, may not be modified in either the duration of the alimony award or in the amount of the payments.

You may also have grounds to increase, decrease or terminate alimony based on retirement, disability, unemployment, changes in income, changes in the amount of your needs for alimony. 

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