Rehabilitative Alimony Attorney
In the State of Florida, divorcing spouses have the option of filing for six different types of alimony — permanent alimony, temporary alimony, durational alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony, lump-sum alimony, and rehabilitative alimony — which were created to help fulfill the varying financial requirements and different support preferences of divorcing couples. If you are planning to file for divorce or you have already filed for a dissolution of marriage and require the assistance of a family law firm regarding rehabilitative alimony, contact Tobaygo Law. Our alimony attorneys can help guide you through each stage of the case and aggressively defend your rights.
What Is Rehabilitative Alimony?
Florida Statute § 61.08 allows courts to grant different types of alimony, some temporary in nature and some permanent in nature. As suggested by its name, rehabilitative alimony is designed to rehabilitate one or more spouses and it is used to provide the opportunity for adequate training and education required for effective re-entry to the workforce following divorce. This means that the primary income-earning spouse may be ordered to pay for a portion or the whole of the cost required to acclimate or introduce the spouse to the workforce, with the goal of self-sufficiency and financial independence. If one spouse forgoes working for a number of years to perform household duties or to raise minor children, this spouse will require financial assistance and support until he or she reaches self-sufficiency and achieves a stable source of income following rehabilitative measures.
How Does The Court Determine Whether To Grant Rehabilitative Alimony?
The spouse seeking rehabilitative alimony must present a rehabilitation plan to the court. This plan may be orally provided, but our divorce attorneys recommend that divorcing spouses submit a thoroughly detailed written plan of rehabilitation. A spouse who needs training or education to effectively re-enter the job market should plan to present a specific class schedule and/or training schedule, complete with start dates and end dates.
He or she must present evidence with regard to the costs for all types of expenses and determine whether he or she can maintain some degree of employment during the rehabilitation process. The spouse must also explain within the rehabilitation plan the anticipated benefits to the chosen training and/or education and provide reasonable evidence which suggests the training will enable the self-sufficiency of the spouse.
Which Factors Determine An Award Of Rehabilitative Alimony?
Awards of rehabilitative alimony vary widely from case to case. Florida courts have a high degree of discretion regarding awarding rehabilitative alimony to divorcing spouses. In these cases, the courts consider a number of factors, including the marriage duration, financial circumstances, personal sacrifices, and rehabilitation plan viability.
Length Of The Marriage
When determining whether to award rehabilitative alimony, Florida courts often consider the duration of the marriage in question. Rehabilitative alimony is optimal for short-term marriages — 7 years or less — and moderate-term marriages — 7 years to 17 years. The courts may refrain from awarding this alimony to spouses in long-term marriages, as another type of alimony, such as permanent alimony, may better suit the unique needs of these spouses.
Another important consideration in the determination of rehabilitative alimony is the financial circumstances of both spouses. Florida courts review assets, income, property, debt, and expenditures, and any other factors pertinent to the determination of support. Another financial consideration is a financial gain to one spouse at the cost of the other spouse. This may occur when one spouse quits his or her job or forfeits an educational opportunity to raise children.
Personal sacrifices include the forfeiture of educational opportunities and/or career advancements of one spouse for the benefit and growth of the other spouse. This may occur when one spouse denies an opportune job offer due to the career requirements or location-related requirements of the other spouse. Personal sacrifices also include staying home to raise children, care for ill family members, and/or maintain the overall household.
Viability Of The Rehabilitation Plan
One of the most important considerations regarding whether to award rehabilitative alimony is the determination of viability of the rehabilitation plan submitted by the receiving spouse during a divorce. To obtain a full and fair rehabilitative alimony award, divorcing spouses should consult family law attorneys to create a comprehensive rehabilitation plan and an itemized expense report which explains the purpose and benefit of the funds.
Is Rehabilitative Alimony Modifiable?
In the majority of rehabilitative alimony award cases, Florida courts may order the paying spouse to submit periodic payments or lump-sum payments, depending on the circumstances of the case. In the State of Florida, rehabilitative alimony is modifiable or revocable in the case that a substantial change in circumstances occurs; upon deviation from the requirements of the rehabilitative plan by the receiving spouse; or at the time of plan completion, as ordered by the presiding family court judge. As with a number of additional matters regarding alimony and spousal support in Florida, judges have significant discretion in determining whether evolving circumstances are substantial to a degree which may warrant modification to the initial order for rehabilitative alimony.