Alimony is the legal term used to describe payments made to a spouse by their corresponding spouse during and/or after finalizing a divorce. The goal of alimony is to assist the spouse in upholding a decent standard of living after the dissolution of marriage. In Florida, courts may grant dependent spouses six types of alimony — temporary, lump sum, durational, permanent periodic, rehabilitative, and bridge-the-gap. Of those types of spousal support, permanent periodic alimony lasts the longest, with payments typically continuing until either death or remarriage of the dependant spouse.
Florida family courts are typically more inclined to award temporary or durational alimony before considering permanent alimony. Therefore, if you believe your situation is best suited for permanent alimony, you should seek the services of an experienced spousal support lawyer.
The dependable alimony attorneys with our family law firm can help dependant spouses pursue the most appropriate support for their unique circumstances. Contact Tobaygo Law today to learn more or schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation!
What Is Permanent Alimony?
The objective of permanent periodic alimony, or permanent alimony, is to compensate a spouse who is incapable of maintaining their established standard of living following a divorce. When a dependant spouse is awarded permanent alimony, they will receive periodic monthly payments, a lump sum, or both. Generally, periodic payments will continue until the dependant spouse dies, remarries, or enters a supportive relationship. Additionally, the spouse who receives permanent alimony is usually required to report the tax as income. By contrast, the spouse who pays alimony may deduct it from their taxes. Depending on each spouse's income and the unique circumstances of the marriage, permanent alimony can be a substantial payment.
When May Permanent Alimony Awarded?
As per Florida Statute § 61.08(8), "Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2), following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate based upon clear and convincing evidence after consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2), or following a marriage of short duration if there are written findings of exceptional circumstances. In awarding permanent alimony, the court shall include a finding that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties."
What Factors Do Courts Consider Before Awarding Alimony?
While Florida's statutes outline when permanent alimony may be necessary, it is up to the court to examine the specifics of each marriage to determine which alimony is most suitable. When making these determinations, the court will look at several factors, including but not limited to:
- Physical Condition, Emotional State, And Age Of Each Spouse
- Nonmarital And Marital Assets Being Distributed To Each Spouse
- The Earning Capacity And Employability Of Each Spouse
- The Marriage's Duration
- Each Spouse's Financial Resources
- The Established Standard Of Living
Modification Or Termination Of Permanent Alimony
As set forth in Florida Statute § 61.08(8), "An award [of permanent alimony] may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship…" Permanent alimony will automatically terminate upon the dependant spouse's death or remarriage. Should a dependant spouse enter into a new supportive relationship, either party could request a modification or termination of alimony from the court. Beyond those circumstances, it can be challenging to modify or terminate permanent alimony payments. If you're considering seeking a modification or termination of alimony, be sure to seek legal counsel from our experienced Sarasota family law attorneys!