Miami Alimony Lawyer
If you are in the process of filing for divorce, an experienced Miami alimony lawyer at Hoffman & Hoffman, P.A. can offer you the superior legal counsel you need to protect your rights. Alimony may be awarded in a divorce proceeding when there is both a need and an ability to pay. In other words, the Court cannot award alimony just because the requesting spouse has a greater need — the Court must also find that the supporting spouse has a greater ability to pay.
If the Court finds that there is both a need and an ability to pay, the Court will thereafter analyze the following statutory factors in order to determine the proper type and amount of alimony:
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
- The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
- The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
- The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.
- All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
Types of Alimony
Florida currently recognizes the following types of alimony:
- Temporary Alimony. Temporary alimony is also known as alimony “pendente lite” which means “pending the litigation”. Courts frequently award temporary alimony to a spouse who has a financial need for support while a divorce is pending. An award of temporary alimony terminates once the divorce becomes final.
- Bridge-The-Gap Alimony. Bridge-the-gap alimony provides financial support for a maximum of two years after the divorce is final. Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to assist a party in making the transition from being married to single, and to assist a party with “legitimate, identifiable, short-term needs”.
- Rehabilitative Alimony. The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to assist the payee spouse in achieving the education or training necessary to obtain employment. In order for rehabilitative alimony to be awarded, the requesting spouse must submit a plan to the court that sets forth the amount of money that is needed to complete the education and/or training, and the amount of time needed to complete same.
- Durational Alimony. If bridge-the-gap and/or rehabilitative alimony are insufficient to meet a spouse’s needs, the court can, in its discretion, award durational alimony. The maximum term of durational alimony is the length of the marriage–in other words, if you were married for ten years, you can’t receive durational alimony for longer than ten years.
- Permanent Alimony. Permanent alimony is financial support that is paid until the remarriage of the payee spouse or the death of either party. The purpose of permanent periodic alimony is to provide the former spouse with the needs and necessities that he or she had become accustomed to during the marriage of the parties. In order for permanent alimony to be awarded, the Court must find that the other forms alimony would not be fair and reasonable under the facts of the case. For example, a Court might award permanent alimony if the requesting spouse lacks the ability to obtain the education and/or training to become self-supportive and therefore has a permanent financial need.
Impact of Length of Marriage on Award of Permanent Alimony
In determining whether an award of permanent alimony is appropriate, the Court will consider whether the marriage was “short-term”, “moderate-term” or “long-term”. A marriage of fewer than 7 years is considered to be a short-term marriage. A marriage of 17 years or more is considered to be a long-term marriage. A moderate-term marriage is a marriage of more than 7 years but less than 17 years.
Florida law provides that permanent alimony may be awarded following a long-term marriage if the Court finds that such an award is appropriate in light of the other statutory factors set forth above.
A court may still award permanent alimony following a moderate-term marriage if there is clear and convincing evidence of the appropriateness of permanent alimony to justify the award.
Permanent alimony will not be awarded following a short-term marriage absent written findings of exceptional circumstances. Circumstances that may constitute a basis for awarding permanent alimony following a short-term marriage might include a debilitating disability and/or illness that arose during the marriage. A Miami alimony lawyer at our firm can help you understand the impact of permanent spousal support.
Modification of Alimony
Absent a written agreement between the parties to the contrary, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony, and permanent alimony can be modified if either spouse has a substantial change in financial circumstances; whereas, bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable under any circumstances.
Termination of Alimony
Alimony automatically terminates if the recipient spouse remarries or if either party dies. A court can also modify or terminate an award of permanent alimony if the recipient spouse enters into a “supportive relationship”. In determining whether a “supportive relationship” exists, the Court will consider:
- The extent to which the recipient spouse and the other person (i.e., the person whom the recipient spouse is alleged to be in a supportive relationship with) have held themselves out as a married couple by engaging in conduct such as using the same last name, using a common mailing address, referring to each other in terms such as “my husband” or “my wife,” or otherwise conducting themselves in a manner that evidences a permanent supportive relationship.
- The period of time that the recipient spouse has resided with the other person in a permanent place of abode.
- The extent to which the recipient spouse and the other person have pooled their assets or income or otherwise exhibited financial interdependence.
- The extent to which the recipient spouse or the other person has supported the other, in whole or in part.
- The extent to which the recipient spouse or the other person has performed valuable services for the other.
- The extent to which the recipient spouse or the other person has performed valuable services for the other’s company or employer.
- Whether the recipient spouse and the other person have worked together to create or enhance anything of value.
- Whether the recipient spouse and the other person have jointly contributed to the purchase of any real or personal property.
- Evidence in support of a claim that the recipient spouse and the other person have an express agreement regarding property sharing or support.
- Evidence in support of a claim that the recipient spouse and the other person have an implied agreement regarding property sharing or support.
- Whether the recipient spouse and the other person have provided support to the children of one another, regardless of any legal duty to do so.
Contact a Miami Alimony Lawyer Today
If you have questions regarding spousal support, contact a Miami alimony lawyer at Hoffman & Hoffman, P.A. today to schedule a consultation. Our firm is committed to protecting your rights and ensuring the best possible outcome for all parties.