Deland Alimony Lawyer
In many divorce cases, alimony will be one of the most important issues to be decided. Many our Deland divorce lawyers’ clients are unfamiliar with how alimony works and have several questions and concerns regarding what they can expect in their own divorce case regarding alimony. There are several different types of alimony that may be applicable to your case. Even after alimony is awarded, it is possible you may have to deal with the issue of alimony again later down the road if you or your ex-spouse request a modification of the alimony that the court originally ordered.Types of Alimony
There are several different types of alimony in Florida. Each type of alimony is intended to achieve a certain purpose and the circumstances of each case will determine which is appropriate, if any.
- Temporary alimony is intended to ensure household bills are paid and both spouses can meet their immediate needs while the divorce action is pending.
- Bridge-the-gap Alimony is intended to assist a spouse in need with transitioning financially from married life to single life to become self-supporting. The needs of the receiving spouse must be shown to be legitimate, identifiable, and only last for a short period of time to be eligible for this type of alimony in Deland.
- Rehabilitative alimony is also intended to assist a spouse while they become self-supporting. For example, rehabilitative alimony could be used to cover household expenses, the cost of childcare, and education expenses to allow the spouse in need to finish school and become self-supporting. Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded for a specified period of time or may be awarded for an indefinite period of time, depending on the circumstances of the case. Rehabilitative alimony requires a specific rehabilitative plan in Deland.
- Durational Alimony is alimony that is ordered for a set time period. It is only awarded after long-term marriage, or a marriage lasting seventeen years or more, if the court determines that permanent alimony is not appropriate. Durational alimony provides financial support to a spouse in need but does not require a specified plan for the spouse in need to become self-supporting. The period of time that the durational alimony lasts cannot exceed the length of the marriage. Permanent alimony is only awarded if the court determines no other type of alimony is appropriate or fair under the circumstances.
- Permanent alimony will continue until the death of one of the spouses or may be modified or terminated based on a substantial change in circumstances or the receiving spouse entering a supportive relationship. Permanent alimony is uncommon in marriages lasting less than seventeen years.
To award alimony in a divorce, the court must first find that the receiving spouse has a need for the alimony, and the payor spouse has the ability to pay. This determination is made using each party’s financial affidavit, the documents provided from both parties during mandatory disclosure, and any other testimony or evidence provided. . After this initial determination of need and ability to pay is made, Florida law lists out factors for the courts to consider when awarding alimony. These factors include:
- the standard of living maintained during the marriage,
- how long the marriage lasted,
- each party’s age, physical, and emotional conditions,
- each party’s resources including both marital and nonmarital assets,
- each party’s education, vocational skills, employability, and earning capacity,
- the contributions each party made during the marriage including caring for children, homemaking, and supporting the other spouse during education and career building,
- financial responsibilities for minor children,
- and any other factor the court considers necessary to do equity and justice.
Once a court has ordered one spouse to pay alimony in a divorce, the court may potentially modify or terminate those alimony payments in the future in some circumstances. A court cannot modify or address the issue of alimony if no alimony was ordered during the initial divorce. In other words, if the court did not order alimony at the time you were divorced, the court cannot go back and add alimony later. To have alimony modified, the party seeking the modification will need to file a petition for modification and have it served on the other party. Before you can successfully request the court to consider a modification of alimony, you must show a substantial change in circumstances. This change must have been something that was not expected or anticipated to happen at the time of the divorce. The change must also not be something one spouse has created intentionally, such as quitting a job, purposefully getting fired, intentionally earning less money, having another child, etc. The change must also be material. Some variations with income or needs is not sufficient. Temporary changes also are not sufficient. For example, if a spouse takes on a special project at work and will earn a higher salary for the next few months or takes a temporary leave to seek medical treatment would not be sufficient grounds to get a modification.
Whether or not alimony can be modified also depends on the type of alimony that was ordered. Bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable once it has been ordered, but it will terminate if either spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries. Rehabilitative alimony is able to be modified in both amount and/or duration. Durational alimony may be modified in amount but the duration is not modifiable and it will continue until the termination date that was originally ordered is reached. Durational alimony will also terminate upon the death of either ex-spouse or the remarriage of the receiving spouse. Permanent alimony is modifiable despite its name. It is important to know that even if you feel the amount of alimony you were ordered to pay should be modified or terminated, you must continue making your court-ordered alimony payments until the court issues a new order that relieves you from the payments or changes the amount you are required to pay. Once the court issues an order, you must comply until the court relieves you of the obligation and cannot make the modification or termination on your own or you could face legal consequences for doing so.
An experienced alimony attorney in Deland can answer your questions and put some of your concerns surrounding alimony to rest. At My Florida Family Lawn Firm, Adams and Luka, P.A., our alimony attorneys will use the initial consultation to discuss your divorce case, including the issue of alimony, and give you a realistic idea of what to expect as you proceed through the court process. Our attorneys are experienced negotiators and will use their knowledge and skill to help you reach a settlement, particularly on the issue of alimony, which is often an area of a divorce case that is contested and therefore ripe for settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached and your case proceeds to trial, our attorneys are also experienced litigators that will be able to present the strongest argument possible to give you the best chance at getting the outcome you most want. Call us 24/7 at 407-872-0303 or 352-357-4084 for your free consultation.