Circumstances Determine Alimony

An award of alimony depends on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the ability of a spouse to pay and the needs of the other spouse. Generally women receive alimony, but increasingly courts have awarded it to men who assume homemaking roles.

When two professionals of approximately equal income (comparable incomes and pension plans) divorce after a short time marriage (less than 10 years), more than likely no alimony will be granted to either party. However, a stay-at-home mother who has been out of the workforce for many years, who has no marketable skills, no pension plan will probably be granted alimony. Courts award different types of alimony depending on the financial situation of the payor and the recipient. Types of alimony include:

> Temporary. Courts may award temporary spousal support, which is also called pendente lite, during a separation and pending a divorce, so that a party may maintain his or her lifestyle.

> Rehabilitative. Rehabilitative alimony helps a spouse back on his or her feet through rehabilitation, such as schooling or training. Rehabilitative spousal support is normally set for a fixed period. (Read About Rehabilitative Alimony in Florida).

> Permanent. Permanent alimony continues until the death of the payor, the recipient or the remarriage of the recipient. Permanent alimony can be modified based on a change of circumstance, and the modification depends on changes in the life of the payor or the recipient. For example, if the recipient obtains a job with a higher salary, the payor can petition the courts to reduce the spousal support; on the other hand, if the recipient loses his or her position or suffers a major medical problem, he or she can request an increase.

> Reimbursement. Reimbursement alimony repays the other spouse for certain expenses. For example, the wife who helps put her husband through medical school may be able to obtain reimbursement alimony that pays back the money spent in anticipation of sharing in the benefits of her husband’s education. Payments can be lump sum or periodic.

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