Tavares Alimony Lawyer
Alimony is often one of the most crucial issues for divorcing couples in Tavares. The final decision as to whether or not one party will receive alimony and the other party will have to pay it will have a long-lasting impact on both parties, possibly even life-long consequences. Our Tavares alimony lawyer explains several different types of alimony and several factors that the court will consider when deciding alimony for families getting a divorce in Tavares.
To award alimony, the court must initially decide if one party has a need for the alimony as well as whether the other party has the ability to pay. The court will make this initial determination primarily using each party’s financial affidavit and financial documents provided during mandatory disclosure. The financial affidavit is a sworn document provided to the court listing the sources of income, expenses, assets, and liabilities for each party. 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.
Temporary alimony, also referred to as alimony pendente lite or “suite money,” is intended to ensure household bills are paid and both spouse’s can meet their immediate needs while the divorce action is pending. Temporary alimony is generally awarded at the outset of the divorce proceedings. The party requesting temporary alimony will file a motion with the court requesting it. The other party who is being asked to pay may disagree and proceed to a court hearing on the issue, where the judge will make a determination as to whether temporary alimony is appropriate and what amount should be paid. The other party may also agree to pay the temporary alimony. If the other party does not object to the motion for temporary alimony then the judge will order them to pay the amount the parties agreed upon. For example, if the husband earns substantially more money than the wife and decides to move out of the marital home when the couple separates, the judge may order temporary alimony to ensure the wife is able to continue paying the household bills such as the mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc., until the divorce is finalized.Bridge-the-gap Alimony
Bridge-the-gap Alimony is intended to assist a spouse in need with transitioning financially from married life to single life. When finances are shared in a marriage and one spouse is dependent on the income from the other spouse, the dependent spouse may need assistance for a short time to become self-supporting. What the spouse needs to become self-supporting will differ depending on the party’s circumstances but may include help moving to a new home or support while looking for employment. 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 Tavares.Rehabilitative Alimony
Rehabilitative alimony is also intended to assist a spouse while they become self-supporting. For example, if one spouse was in the process of obtaining a degree but then stopped taking classes to raise the couples’ children, that spouse may not have the ability to be self-supporting immediately after the marriage ending and may require alimony to assist them in finishing their education to obtain employment. 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 Tavares.Durational Alimony
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
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. This includes when the receiving spouse re-marries. The duration of the marriage is important for determining whether permanent alimony is fair and appropriate. If the marriage lasted seventeen years or longer, permanent alimony may be awarded if the court finds it appropriate. For a marriage lasting less than seventeen years but more than seven years, a court can only award permanent alimony based on clear and convincing evidence that permanent alimony is appropriate. “Clear and convincing evidence” is a burden of proof that the party requesting the permanent alimony must establish. Most people are familiar with the burden of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt, most commonly used in criminal cases. Clear and convincing evidence is a lower burden of proof that is easier to meet. Permanent alimony can only be awarded in marriages lasting less than seven years if the court finds exceptional circumstances exist.Lump Sum Alimony
Lump sum alimony can be used as either a method of distributing property between the spouses or to provide support. The court will apply the same factors used when determining permanent alimony, but will award the alimony as a lump sum, essentially altering the form of payment. Lump sum alimony could be paid in cash, property, or other assets. Lump sum alimony may be more appropriate if its best to sever all future contact between the parties, the payor spouse has a history of being unreliable, or the age or health of the payor spouse puts their ability to meet long term payments into question.
Determining which type of alimony is most appropriate can be difficult in some situations, and alimony will not be awarded in every case. Hiring an experienced family attorney in Tavares can make the difference in whether you receive the alimony that’s appropriate for your situation, or whether you are able to avoid paying alimony that you should not have to pay. A skilled attorney may also be able to negotiate a settlement for your case without requiring a costly, time consuming trial. Alimony is often an aspect of the divorce that is ripe for negotiations to allow the case to settle by saving time and attorneys fees and costs.
If you are getting a divorce in Tavares, or need to modify court ordered alimony in Tavares, contact My Florida Family Lawn Firm, Adams and Luka, P.A., to have a free consultation with one of our family attorneys. During the initial consultation, our experienced family attorneys can start the process of discussing whether alimony is appropriate in your case as well as the different types of alimony the court may consider. Our family attorneys understand the factors the judges in Tavares consider when determining alimony and will develop a legal strategy unique to your situation to help best resolve your case, including all issues of alimony. Our attorneys are available for a free consultation 24/7 at 407-872-0303 or 352-357-4084.