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How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Alimony in the State of Florida?
There is no specific length of time a couple has to be married before a judge grants alimony in Florida. However, the duration of a marriage can still directly impact alimony in the state.
Spouses in longer marriages might expect alimony, but it is not guaranteed. Likewise, spouses in a short-term marriage should not assume that the judge will not grant alimony based on the term of their marriage alone.
What Factors Do Judges Use To Decide When To Order Alimony in a Florida Divorce Case?
Judges consider many factors when deciding alimony, including how long a couple has been married. However, other factors impact whether the court orders spousal support, including:
The standard of living the spouse’s enjoyed during the marriage
The age and health of the parties
Whether a spouse sacrificed professional, educational, or earning opportunities for the marriage
If there was domestic violence or abuse
Each spouse’s financial resources, including marital and separate assets and debts
All sources of income for the parties
Each spouse’s responsibilities regarding minor children
The vocational skills, earning capacities, employability, and educational levels of each spouse
The tax consequences of awarding alimony for each party
Other factors the judge determines relevant to decide the issue of alimony
Even though the court considers all relevant factors when awarding spousal support, the duration of a marriage has a significant impact on how long a spouse can receive alimony. Therefore, you might be awarded alimony even though you were married for a short time, but you might not receive alimony for a very long.
How Does the Length of a Marriage Impact Alimony in Florida?
Florida law uses the duration of the marriage as a base for the length of spousal support. Marriage is defined as:
Short-term marriages are less than seven years
Moderate-term marriages are between 7 and 17 years
Long-term marriages are more than 17 years
A judge might grant long-term spousal support in marriages that lasted more than 17 years. However, it is unlikely that judges grant long-term alimony in cases involving short to moderate-term marriages.
There is a rebuttable presumption that alimony is not granted in marriages lasting less than seven years. However, there are exceptions, so it is always best to seek legal advice from an experienced Orlando spousal support lawyer.
What Types of Alimony Are Granted in the State of Florida?
Each divorce case is unique. Therefore, judges may choose from several types of alimony based on the facts of the cases. The types of spousal support and the length of alimony payments you could receive or pay after a divorce include:
Temporary Spousal Support
Judges grant temporary alimony while the divorce case is pending. Temporary spousal support can be paid from the first hearing date through the end of the divorce proceedings.
Durational Spousal Support
Judges grant durational spousal support for a short time after a divorce, usually in short-term or moderate-term divorces. However, the durational alimony does not last longer than the duration of the marriage.
Bridge-the-Gap Spousal Support
Sometimes a spouse might need financial assistance to help them transition from being married to supporting themselves. Bridge-the-gap alimony is paid for a short -term after the divorce for identifiable needs the spouse needs to support themselves, such as obtaining a new home or vehicle.
Rehabilitative Spousal Support
A spouse might need to obtain skills, training, or education to obtain a job that provides sufficient income to support themselves. Rehabilitative alimony is typically granted when a spouse has a detailed plan that outlines how they intend to obtain the requirements to get a job and the timeline for completing their plan. For example, a spouse intends to attend college to obtain a certificate or degree.
Lump-Sum Spousal Support
Instead of making alimony payments, a judge could order a spouse to make a lump-sum alimony payment. The one-time payment could be part of a negotiated property settlement or to provide for a spouse with a specific, urgent financial need.
Permanent Spousal Support
Generally, judges grant permanent alimony in long-term marriages. The alimony payments continue until a spouse dies, the receiving spouse remarries, or a judge terminates alimony payments.
What Happens if Alimony Payments Need To Be Modified?
The court can modify alimony payments if there is a substantial and permanent change in circumstances. For example, if a spouse becomes disabled or is ill for an extended period, the judge might modify alimony payments. Likewise, involuntary job loss could result in a modification of alimony payments.
Contact an Orlando alimony lawyer immediately if you cannot make your payments. Failing to pay alimony payments can result in severe penalties.
Contact Our Spousal Support Law Firm in Orlando, FL