Courts have great leeway when deciding the amount and duration of alimony. Florida law does not provide formulas for calculating spousal support, unlike child support which is regulated in minute detail. The old expectations about who is entitled to alimony generally do not apply.

Whether one spouse will receive alimony, the amount, and the duration of alimony will generally be determined by the persuasive skills of the attorneys representing each spouse. When you work with a divorce lawyer who understands the factors courts find important, and who is skilled at presenting your arguments, you have the best chance of reaching your goals for alimony.

At West Family Law Group, we understand how to advocate for your interests in private negotiations as well as heated courtrooms. Whether you are requesting alimony or trying to limit obligations, we take the time to learn all relevant factors that make your case unique so that we are prepared to achieve your objectives.

Need and Ability

Under Section 61.08(2) of the Florida Statutes, the first questions courts must consider when deciding whether to award alimony are:

  • Does one spouse have an actual need for support payments?
  • Does the other spouse have the ability to pay alimony?

However, the statute provides no clear guidance to define what constitutes need or ability. If you are seeking alimony, your attorney should be ready to show multiple reasons why you need it. Often, the spouse requesting alimony has focused has sacrificed their career for the benefit of the family or has health issues which prevent them from being self-supporting.

If you are trying to limit or prevent alimony obligations, your attorney should have a command of all facts which support this outcome. For instance, you might have a medical diagnosis will impact your ability to work, or that your former partner could be earning more money if that partner chose to work more hours.

An experienced lawyer will help you develop a theory of the case which supports your desired outcome.

Five Types of Alimony

There are five different types of alimony in Florida:

  • Temporary alimony pays for living expenses or other needs while the divorce is in progress. Payment obligations end when the divorce becomes final.
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to help one spouse make the transition from married life to single life in a separate household. It is for short marriages. This type of alimony can last no more than two years.
  • Rehabilitative alimony provides support while a spouse develops job skills or acquires additional education to become self-supporting.
  • Durational alimony is for a set amount of time. Durational alimony cannot last longer that the marriage did.
  • Permanent alimony is presumed to be appropriate where the marriage is over 17 years, and the court finds that the recipient will not be able to become self-supporting.

Factors Courts Consider When Awarding Alimony

Florida law provides a laundry list of factors for courts to consider when deciding which type of alimony, the amount, and duration of the award.

The list includes:

  • The couple’s standard of living during the marriage
  • Age of each party
  • Financial resources and income of each party
  • Contributions to homemaking, childcare, and career building of the other spouse
  • Care responsibilities for the couple’s minor children

In addition, courts can consider other factors they find necessary to "do equity and justice."

An Experienced Alimony Attorney Can Make All the Difference

At the start of a divorce case, the issue of alimony is an empty page. When your divorce lawyer can fill up the page with reasons why your alimony goals are fair under the circumstances, you have a good chance of achieving your objectives.

At West Family Law Group, we are committed to demonstrating respect in divorce and we work to negotiate peaceful and creative resolutions to conflict. But we are ready to protect your interests in court if necessary. To learn how we can assist with alimony or other critical issues, contact us today for a confidential consultation.