What You Need to Know About Alimony in Orange County
In mid and late 2018, as the alimony tax deduction loomed, many people predicted an end-of-year divorce spike and earth-shattering consequences for families in 2019 and beyond. The divorce spike did not materialize. And, so far, the tax deduction change has had few repercussions in Florida family law. So, it appears that it will be business as usual for spousal support issues, at least for the time being.
In Florida, spousal support is still a subjective matter where judges have a great deal of discretion. So, whatever side of the alimony issue a spouse is on, a Maitland divorce lawyer must be prepared to deal with a number of ongoing issues.
Types of Spousal Support
Some people believe that alimony should be primarily based on the obligee spouse’s economic need. Others believe that spousal support is a long-term income redistribution tool which equalizes the standard of living of the former spouses. So, Florida law provides for several different types of alimony, as follows:
- Temporary: Alimony pendente lite gives the obligee spouse money to meet divorce-related expenses, such as legal fees, daycare enrollment costs, and property rental deposits. This type of alimony automatically terminates when the divorce is final.
- Bridge the Gap: These short-term payments automatically terminate two years after the divorce becomes final. Bridge the gap alimony basically extends temporary alimony. Some obligee spouses need some additional financial assistance. Perhaps they must return to school to finish a degree or accept a low-paying internship to re-enter the job market.
- Rehabilitative: The rarest type of alimony is essentially extended bridge the gap alimony. If the obligee spouse requires more than two years to become economically self-sufficient, s/he must submit a written rehabilitation plan and stick to the plan.
- Durational: The most common types of alimony is capped at the length of the marriage. For example, if the parties were married ten years, durational alimony can last a maximum of ten years. These payments are available if a spouse lacks the resources to provide for minimum reasonable needs.
- Permanent: If a spouse has a disability or will otherwise never become economically self-sufficient, and the judge makes additional findings to that effect, the judge may order permanent support payments.
Florida law requires the judge to order the lowest amount of alimony possible under the circumstances.
Amount and Duration of Payments
As mentioned, alimony in Florida is nothing like child support. Judges have considerable discretion in terms of the amount and duration of payments. Some factors include:
- Length of the marriage,
- Relative age and health of the spouses,
- Standard of living during the marriage,
- Custody of minor children,
- Economic and noneconomic contributions to the marriage, and
- Dissipation (waste) of marital assets.
The judge may modify the amount and duration of payments if financial circumstances materially and substantially change in ways that were unanticipated at the time of divorce.
Modifications are often thorny issues, especially with regard to the obligee’s remarriage. Legally, remarriage terminates spousal support obligations. Lawmakers recently added amendments which make it possible to modify alimony if the obligee remains single but has a long-term, supportive relationship with another person.
Team Up with an Experienced Lawyer
Spousal support awards in Florida are complex matters. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Maitland, contact The Troum Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle matters in Seminole County and nearby jurisdictions.