Lakeland Spousal Support Attorney
Spousal support, also called alimony or maintenance, is a payment that one former spouse makes to the other after divorce. Spousal support can be paid in one lump sum or periodically over several months, years, or even permanently. Spousal support is not automatic in every divorce. One of the parties has to request it, and the judge has to determine whether one party has an actual need for support and the other party has the ability to pay. Then, several factors go into deciding what type of alimony to award, how much and for how long. If you are seeking alimony in your Florida divorce, or if you are being asked to pay support to your ex, the family law attorney at Darla K. Snead, P.L., can represent your interests, make sure you are being treated fairly, and help you reach a satisfactory resolution that meets your needs. Contact our experienced Lakeland spousal support attorney today.
Four Kinds of Alimony in Florida
Florida law recognizes four different kinds of alimony or spousal support that a court can order in a divorce. Once the judge has decided spousal support is appropriate, the court will then look at a long list of factors to decide which kind of alimony to award. The court can order a combination of different kinds of alimony as well. The four different kinds of spousal support in Florida are Bridge-the-Gap, Rehabilitative, Durational, and Permanent.
This type of alimony is meant to support the transition from married life to single status. The party seeking support should identify legitimate short-term needs that may last up to two years. Once ordered, the amount and duration of bridge-the-gap alimony can’t be modified, although it will terminate if the recipient remarries or if either party dies.
Rehabilitative alimony is meant to help a party become self-supporting by redeveloping previous skills or credentials they held or by acquiring the necessary education, training or work experience to develop employment skills or credentials. The alimony award will include a specific and defined rehabilitative plan as part of the court order.
As the name implies, durational alimony is meant to give the recipient economic assistance for a set period of time. Under Florida law, durational alimony can be awarded after a short or moderate-length marriage or after a long-term marriage if permanent alimony isn’t needed or appropriate. Generally speaking, a short marriage is one that lasted less than seven years, while a moderate-duration marriage is one that lasted between seven and 17 years. Like bridge-the-gap alimony, durational alimony terminates if the recipient remarries or either party dies, although the amount of durational alimony can also be modified or terminated based on a substantial change of circumstances.
Florida law allows a court to order permanent alimony to provide a party with the “needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage.” This type of alimony is appropriate after a long marriage (presumably more than 17 years) where the recipient lacks the financial ability to meet their needs and necessities of life without support. Permanent alimony can also be ordered after a moderate-length marriage based on “clear and convincing evidence” or even after a short marriage under exceptional circumstances.
How Darla K. Snead, P.L., Can Help With Alimony in Your Lakeland Divorce
Alimony decisions are made by the parties working together or by the judge based on the evidence received. Whether you are seeking spousal support or being asked to pay, it’s important to have advice and representation from an experienced divorce lawyer who is thoroughly familiar with the relevant factors under Florida law and can present a strong case to the other party or the judge in support of your interests.
The factors that influence an alimony award in Florida include:
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
- The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
- The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
- The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.
- All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
Additionally, the judge can consider evidence of adultery of either spouse in deciding the amount of alimony or whether to award it all. Except in exceptional circumstances, an alimony award shouldn’t leave the payor with significantly less net income than the recipient.
Contact Our Lakeland Spousal Support Attorney Today
At Darla K. Snead, P.L., we strive to resolve cases collaboratively between the parties for the best results and the most satisfied clients, but we are always ready to go to court when necessary to protect our client’s rights and interests. Attorney Darla K. Snead has a great deal of diverse legal experience in all settings inside and outside the courtroom, so she is equipped and prepared to resolve the support issue in the fairest and most efficient manner. For help with alimony and other issues in your Florida divorce, call our experienced Lakeland spousal support lawyer today.