Spousal support in Florida can take various forms, including bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative and durational alimony. Each type serves a unique purpose, depending on the circumstances of the divorce.
The Florida Statutes provides guidance to courts when determining spousal support in a divorce. For example, they state that bridge-the-gap alimony has a time limit of two years and durational support has a limit of up to 75% of the time of the marriage in long-term cases. The courts look at various factors carefully to ensure that alimony decisions are fair and equitable.
Length of marriage
One primary factor in spousal support cases is the length of the marriage. In Florida, marriages fall into short-term (less than 10 years), moderate-term (10 to 20 years) and long-term categories (20 years or more). Shorter marriages may result in lower alimony payments whereas longer marriages may lead to more substantial alimony awards.
Need and ability to pay
The court evaluates the financial situation of both the paying spouse and the recipient spouse. If one spouse requires financial support to maintain a similar standard of living post-divorce, and the other spouse has the financial capacity to provide that support, an alimony award is more likely.
Contributions during the marriage
The court takes into account the non-financial contributions, such as homemaking and child-rearing, as well as financial contributions to the marriage. These contributions can play a vital role in spousal support decisions, especially when one spouse significantly supported the other’s career or education.
Age and health
A spouse who is significantly older or in poor mental or physical health and is less likely to re-enter the workforce may have a stronger claim for alimony. This is especially true if they have been financially dependent on their spouse throughout the marriage.
The financial responsibilities associated with raising children can impact alimony decisions. If one parent has primary custody and incurs most of the childcare expenses, it may influence the amount and duration of alimony payments.
Some reforms to Florida spousal support laws went into effect in the summer of 2023. These reforms included getting rid of the option for permanent alimony. The courts take into account several different factors to determine a fair and equitable amount of spousal support. However, if financial or personal circumstances change, individuals have the option to seek modifications to their court-ordered payments.