Jacksonville Spousal Support Attorneys
Florida Spousal Support FAQs
When a couple makes the decision to separate, there are a number of issues that must be tackled, most of which concern the division of money, property, and time. A significant part of this splitting and re-allocation of funds involves spousal support – or alimony. At the heart of it all, spousal support is a way to ensure that a divorcing couple’s base standard of living is maintained after the proceedings have concluded. However, determining what the "baseline" is for a couple’s situation, and how best to maintain it, is often left to the courts.
To properly secure what is rightfully yours and build for your financial future, we highly recommend speaking with the family law team at Farah & Farah as soon as possible. We have decades of experience and we will use every available resource to best represent your interests. For more information or to schedule a case consultation, call our office today at 855-797-9899 or submit your information online and one of our helpful staff will contact you shortly.
What is spousal support and how long does it last?
A: In the state of Florida spousal support – or alimony – is a periodic payment plan designed to help individuals in a divorce, maintain a relatively similar financial foothold. How this is established and what the criteria may be varies from couple to couple, but the overall goal is to create a level economic playing field between the two parties – no matter what their separate incomes may be at the time. In general, whoever is the highest earner in the household will be providing the support. There are presently six different spousal support schedules available in the state of Florida:
Otherwise known as "pendente lite," which means while "the divorce is pending," temporary spousal support is designed to help one individual while the proceedings take place. Typically, this kind of award will conclude once the divorce is finalized.
Exactly like it sounds, bridge-the-gap support is designed to help an individual over a very short amount of time – generally, no more than two years. The goal is to provide financial aid for very specific needs, such as mortgage payments or rental costs, until the person is able to sufficiently support themselves.
Lump sum alimony
Lump sum alimony is spousal support in the form of one or more large payments up front as opposed to paying alimony each month for an extended period of time. Lump sum alimony may be a better alternative than paying out spousal support for a large peiord of time.
Rehabilitative alimony is dedicated to helping the designated recipient obtain an education that will allow them to fully support themselves at a later date. The recipient must submit a detailed plan in order for this to be awarded.
Simply put, durational support runs the length of your marriage. If you were married for a decade, you can expect to pay alimony for 10 years.
While rare, permanent alimony does exist. A permanent payment schedule is usually only established in long term marriages, specifically marriages that are seventeen years or longer. Further, like other forms of alimony, permanent alimony will be ordered only in cases where one party has a need for it and the other has an ability to pay it. There are other factors that are considered as well in determining whether permanent alimony is appropriate in each case. In cases where the marriage is less than seventeen years in length, permanent alimony is extremely rare. In those instances, permanent alimony is only awarded if one party has a disability or is very old of age.
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What are some factors that determine spousal support?
A: Just as no two couples are alike, no two spousal support payments are ever the same. There are a large number of factors the courts will take into consideration before rendering a decision. Some of the questions they will need to answer include:
- How long has the couple been together?
- How old are the divorcees? Is there a wide gap in age or are they similar?
- Are both individuals in good health? Or are there serious medical complications?
- What are their individual incomes? Who contributed most to the household income?
- What is the couple’s current standard of living – and is it reasonable to maintain?
- Are both people able to support themselves individually or is one person dependent on the other?
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Is adultery a factor when determining spousal support?
A: No. Despite shining a poor light on one’s character, it does not play a role in the financial aspects of the divorce. A judge cannot use a spouse’s behavior, no matter how egregious, as a type of punitive measure for the other.
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Can my support payments ever be altered?
A: Absolutely. Financial situations change, people re-marry, and new employment possibilities arise. Which means, what may have worked in the past, may no longer be viable. In many cases, couples will revisit the schedule on their own and attempt to work out whatever changes may be necessary.
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Will my support be enough to maintain my current standard of living?
A:Doubtful. While spousal support is designed to create a level playing field between the separate household incomes, it does not guarantee you will be able to keep your previous lifestyle.
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Do you have additional concern?
A: Spousal support can be an especially trying part of any divorce proceedings. Emotions are already running high and keeping one’s poise can be difficult. Having a dedicated Florida family law attorney at your side and speaking on your behalf can go a long way in preserving your rights and property. Call Farah & Farah today to find out more at (904) 263-4610.
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