Tampa Alimony Attorney
Alimony is Florida’s term for spousal support and is governed by Florida Statutes § 61.08. Selecting the right Tampa Alimony Attorney is critical to protect your rights. Florida’s alimony laws were significantly revised by the legislature in 2010 and alimony and support law is presently very imprecise. There can be a significant disparity in results from one Court to the next and it is critical to have an experienced attorney to know the difference.
Numerous factors can determine the amount of alimony to be granted, or even whether it will be granted at all. Family courts presently have great discretion in determining alimony issues. Furthermore, there are no guideline calculations to determine the appropriateness of a Tampa alimony claim. If a spouse makes a claim for alimony there are multiple considerations which are listed below.
Types of Alimony
There are five (5) different types of alimony in Florida which take into consideration the duration of the marriage and the other statutory factors listed herein. The types of alimony in Florida are as follows:
Temporary alimony: Temporary alimony may be awarded by the Court in a temporary relief hearing for the purpose of providing temporary support you or your spouse during the pendency of the litigation.
Bridge-the-gap alimony: Bridge-the-gap-alimony may be awarded by the Court to assist you or your spouse by providing support to make a transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, and the length of an award may not exceed 2 years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony terminates upon the death of either spouse or upon the remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony shall not be modifiable in amount or duration.
Rehabilitative alimony: Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded by the Court to assist you or your spouse in establishing the capacity for self-support through either: (1) The redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or (2) The acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials. In order to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan which shall be included as a part of any order awarding rehabilitative alimony. Additionally, an award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the rehabilitative plan.
Durational alimony: The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a you or your spouse with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either spouse or upon the remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony. The amount of an award of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances. However, the length of an award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.
Permanent alimony: Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a spouse who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the factors listed in the statute, following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate based upon clear and convincing evidence after consideration of the factors set forth in the statute, or following a marriage of short duration if there are written findings of exceptional circumstances. In awarding permanent alimony, the court shall include a finding that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either spouse or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship.
If a Court is considering awarding alimony to one of the parties, there are several considerations that it must take into account. Those considerations include, but are not limited to the following:
Whether one spouse has a need for alimony and the other spouse has the ability to pay alimony. This is generally determined by a comprehensive presentation of the parties’ finances through the use of financial affidavits, financial records, and sometimes experts.
If alimony is to be awarded, what type of alimony will be awarded. This is generally determined based on the length of the marriage and the other statutory factors as discussed below.
If alimony is awarded, how much alimony will be awarded per month.
If alimony is awarded, the duration of the alimony award.
In considering an alimony award, one of the significant factors for the Court to consider is the length of the marriage. The alimony statute has divided the classification of the duration of marriages up into three (3) categories as listed below:
If the duration of the marriage was less than 7 years, there is a rebuttable presumption that it was a short-term marriage.
If the duration of the marriage was greater then 7 years but less than 17 years, there is rebuttable presumption that it was a moderate-term marriage.
If the duration of the marriage was 17 years or greater, there is a rebuttable presumption that it was a long-term marriage
If the Court finds that you or your spouse have a need for alimony and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony, then the judge in your case will determine the proper type and amount of alimony. In making that determination, the judge will consider all of the factors specified in the alimony statute as follows:
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.
Other Alimony Considerations
There are other alimony issues to consider in cases where alimony is awarded such as the tax implications of alimony, whether alimony payments are made via an income withholding order, and whether the payor spouse will be required to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy or a bond, or to otherwise secure such alimony award with any other assets which may be suitable for that purpose.
Hire a Board Certified Specialist in Marital and Family Law to Fight for You
Whether you are seeking alimony or defending against an alimony claim, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side who will provide you the aggressive, professional representation that you would expect from an A/V rated law firm. As a Board Certified Specialist in Marital and Family Law, Scott has litigated hundreds of alimony cases and procured successful results year after year. If you have questions regarding how to limit the amount of alimony you will pay, or how to maximize the amount of alimony you will receive, contact us today to take action.