Sarasota Alimony Attorneys
As divorces become more and more commonplace, matters regarding divorce cases increasingly become more complex — that is, a divorce is not simply the legal separation of a couple. Either during or after a divorce, the courts distribute marital assets and mutual debts and alimony may also be ordered by the courts. If you have a question about alimony, contact the experienced family law attorneys with Tobaygo Law.
Our skilled lawyers will explain the law as it specifically applies to your divorce. As Florida laws regarding alimony matters are ever-changing, it’s important that you seek adequate representation to achieve the optimal result in your case. Schedule an appointment for a free initial case evaluation.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is the technical term within family law that is used to describe payments made to a spouse by the corresponding spouse during and/or after a divorce is finalized. The goal of alimony is to assist the spouse financially so that he or she is able to uphold a decent standard of living after a dissolution of marriage. The process of alimony can be confusing and complex, but with the assistance of an alimony attorney, you can better understand your rights during a divorce and how alimony guidelines apply to your specific case.
Alimony Vs. Spousal Support
Many people equate alimony and spousal support as interchangeable legal terms. In many states, alimony and spousal support carry an identical meaning. In others states, such as Florida, the difference between alimony and spousal support is the amount of time in which support is given to the receiving spouse. For example, in a number of different states, spousal support is temporary or rehabilitative in nature, whereas court-ordered alimony payments may be permanently required if a number of state requirements are met.
How Is Alimony Calculated?
Alimony payments vary — there is no fixed amount required to be paid by spouses as each divorce is comprised of unique circumstances. The financial requirements of one spouse are different from the needs of another spouse. Therefore, determining alimony payments take into account the specific circumstances of the divorce as well as the following factors. A determination of alimony also takes into account payments of child support to the primary custodian of a mutual child between spouses.
Standard Of Living
Reasonably, both family courts and divorce courts aim to protect the livelihood and survival of spouses after a divorce. Thus, the standard of living during the marriage is often a major consideration in determining alimony. If there is a large discrepancy between the standard of living during the marriage and after the marriage, alimony may be ordered.
Duration Of The Marriage
In many cases, Florida courts will not order alimony payments to a spouse if the spouses divorce shortly after becoming married. If, however, children are involved in a short-term marriage, the presiding judge may deem alimony as appropriate.
Ability To Pay
One of the most important considerations for alimony is the ability of spouses to make payments of alimony to the receiving spouse. A thorough analysis of each spouse’s gross income; debts; savings accounts; lifestyle and health needs; property; expenses; and expenditures are necessary to determine if alimony payments are necessary.
Financial & Health Factors
A primary consideration of the courts when determining whether alimony is necessary is each spouse’s overall health and financial status. Each spouse’s financial circumstances, overall health, and achieved level of education will be reviewed by the courts.
Types Of Alimony In Florida
When examining the standards for awarding alimony in a divorce, it’s important to understand the types of available alimony. A major factor in determining the type and duration of alimony is the length of the marriage in question. In Florida, marriages are considered to be short-term if the marriage was fewer than seven years in length; moderate-term marriages range between 7 and 17 years in length; and long-term marriages are greater than 17 years. For more information about the types of alimony, contact a Sarasota divorce attorney with Tobaygo Law.
Temporary alimony aims to cover the standard of living the receiving spouse had become accustomed to during the marriage while divorce proceedings are underway. Both basic living expenses and luxuries, which vary from case to case, are included in temporary alimony. Temporary alimony ends when the divorce is finalized but may be replaced by another type of alimony. An alimony attorney with Tobaygo Law will help you determine what type of alimony would best replace temporary alimony in your case.
Lump sum alimony may be awarded when existing circumstances make unsuitable periodic alimony payments. Because lump sum alimony is a one-time payment of money or property, it usually can’t be modified or annulled. Like other forms of alimony, the lump sum is taxable for the receiving spouse and it is considered tax deductible for the paying spouse. If you have considered whether lump sum alimony would be appropriate for your case, contact an experienced divorce attorney in Sarasota with Tobaygo Law.
As implied by the name of this type of alimony, durational alimony is a form of alimony which lasts for a predetermined length of time as determined by the court. The duration can’t exceed the length of the marriage, which is limited to 17 years in Florida. Durational alimony can be modified if changes in circumstance occur, but only applies to the amount, not duration. If durational alimony was awarded in your divorce and your circumstances have changed, contact Tobaygo Law to speak with an experienced family law attorney about your case.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is meant to provide financial help to the receiving spouse for a determined amount of time, generally no more than two years. This type of alimony is sometimes referred to as transitional alimony as it’s meant to help the receiving spouse financially adjust following the divorce. Certain restrictions differentiate bridge-the-gap alimony from other types of alimony, such as durational alimony. Once awarded, bridge-the-gap alimony can’t be modified and it ceases immediately if the receiving spouse dies or remarries.
Permanent periodic alimony, or permanent alimony, is awarded during a divorce when one spouse doesn’t have the ability to maintain the standard of living that was established during the marriage. The courts will consider each spouse’s specific standard of living during the marriage to determine an amount that reasonably fulfills his or her living standards and requirements. This type of alimony is typically awarded for moderate-term and long-term marriages but may be awarded in a short-term marriage with extraordinary circumstances.
Rehabilitative alimony is often ordered by the courts when one spouse was employed and the other spouse was removed from the workforce during the marriage, such as being responsible for taking care of children in the home. This form of alimony is meant to provide financial assistance to the receiving spouse while he or she redevelops or acquires new skills, training, and/or education to re-enter the workforce and gain financial independence. The length of the marriage is taken into consideration when determining an award of rehabilitative alimony.
Can Alimony Be Modified Or Revoked?
Despite the differences among the various types of alimony available in the State of Florida, all types of alimony may be modified or revoked under a number of certain circumstances, such as the death of the receiving spouse or the paying spouse; if receiving spouse remarries; or if the receiving spouse cohabitates enters long-term cohabitation with another person. If you or your former spouse require legal assistance regarding alimony modification during a divorce, contact us today to speak with a Sarasota alimony attorney. Alimony is a complex area of family law which requires the comprehensive counsel of an experienced attorney to ensure the protection of your rights and achieve the most favorable outcome to your case.