Divorce has a significant financial impact on both spouses. In Florida, alimony can be granted to a spouse who needs financial support during or after a divorce. Florida law provides for several different types of alimony. But how long does alimony last? In Florida, the length of the marriage will usually determine how long someone receives alimony. The O’Mara Law Group can help you navigate every aspect of divorce, including negotiating alimony.
How Long Do Alimony Payments Last in Florida?
How long alimony lasts in Florida depends on many factors, including the length of a marriage. As a result, there is no single answer to this question.
Many kinds of spousal support in Florida, such as rehabilitative, temporary, and bridge-the-gap alimony, have a court-ordered expiration date. Only permanent alimony, typically awarded only for longer marriages, goes on indefinitely. Permanent alimony does stop if the receiving spouse remarries or either spouse passes away.
What Qualifies You for Alimony in Florida?
Judges consider many things to decide the type of alimony, the amount, and how long it lasts. Because many of these factors are intangible, having a skilled family law attorney representing your interests is often important. An experienced Florida family attorney will understand how judges and mediators make tough decisions about alimony. Your lawyer can use this knowledge to make the best arguments on your behalf.
Among the considerations in determining alimony are:
A judge may also look at how awarding alimony will affect a spouse’s tax liability to make an accurate overall financial assessment.
Types of Spousal Support
The different types of alimony in Florida are as follows.
Divorce proceedings are complex. It can take time to work out the final details. When spouses are separated but not yet divorced, a court may award funds to help a spouse during this challenging time. Temporary alimony ends once the divorce is final.
The end of a marriage is a significant change for many people. Spouses often have combined assets, and one usually earns more than the other. After a divorce, there is tremendous financial disruption. Bridge-the-gap alimony helps a spouse as they gain financial independence.
Once it’s awarded, it cannot be changed. However, it will terminate if either spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries. This type of alimony lasts for a maximum of two years in Florida.
Rehabilitative alimony is similar to bridge-the-gap alimony in that it’s designed to help a spouse become self-sufficient. With rehabilitative alimony, a spouse may have to submit a plan outlining how they will achieve financial independence. The plan can include education or re-training that allows a spouse to enter or re-enter the workforce. A judge can modify rehabilitative alimony payments based on evidence that the receiving spouse’s circumstances have changed. Rehabilitative alimony will end if either spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries.
Durational alimony is spousal support that lasts for a set period. It is usually reserved for short-term or moderate-term marriages. However, it can also be granted if there was a long-term marriage, but the receiving spouse does not need permanent support. The alimony can last no longer than the marriage itself lasted. Durational alimony can also terminate if either spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries.
Permanent alimony is usually only awarded to a spouse who was in a long-term marriage. The payments go on indefinitely but stop when one of the spouses passes away or the receiving spouse enters another marriage.
How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Alimony?
The type of alimony awarded depends on the length of the marriage. In Florida, marriages are classified as follows:
You can get alimony if you were in a short-term marriage. However, it is usually restricted to temporary forms of support. You can receive durational or permanent alimony if you were in a moderate-term or long-term marriage.
How Child Support Affects Spousal Support in Florida
Spousal support, also called alimony, is separate from child support. Therefore, the amount a spouse pays in child support after a divorce is irrelevant when calculating alimony. However, if the receiving spouse is also the primary caregiver to minor children, it may impact their ability to work and gain financial independence. This can influence how much alimony they receive.
An Orlando divorce lawyer can help you develop a full accounting of your or your spouse’s expected financial situations after divorce and advocate for your interests.
Is there a time limit on alimony?
A decision-maker, such as a court or a mediator, generally decides how long one spouse has to pay alimony. These time limits are closely linked to the type of alimony they award. The time limits for how long alimony lasts are as follows:
The type of alimony that is fair and appropriate in a given situation depends on many factors. You may not know what to ask for as a spouse navigating the complexities of a divorce. An Orlando alimony lawyer can help you determine what type of alimony is most appropriate for your situation.
Can You Terminate Alimony in Florida?
In most cases, alimony automatically ends after the period set by the court. Some kinds of alimony can be renegotiated. Factors that may lead to a renegotiation include:
Renegotiation of alimony based on a change in circumstances is only allowed if the change was not contemplated at the time of the final divorce settlement and is material, involuntary, and permanent.
Work With a Skilled Family Attorney
Divorce is a challenging process for everyone involved. The added stress and emotional upheaval of an alimony negotiation are best handled with the help of a family attorney dedicated to advancing your interests.
O’Mara Law Group has decades of combined experience helping clients navigate divorce. Our lead attorney, Mark O’Mara, has spent more than 35 years fighting for the legal needs of Floridians. He is certified in Collaborative Law and is a Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and Circuit Civil Mediator. Contact O’Mara Law for experienced representation.