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Will I Receive Alimony in My Uncontested Florida Divorce?

Your life will change significantly following a divorce. Depending upon your circumstances, you may lose the support of the primary breadwinner, have to move to a different home, divide up your possession, and share custody of your children. Recognizing the shifts a divorce can have, the Florida legislature adopted the concept of alimony to make divorce as fair and equitable as possible. Alimony is defined as the payment from one former spouse to another. Alimony is also commonly referred to as maintenance or spousal support.

The purpose of alimony is to essentially level the playing field following a divorce. Often, one partner in a marriage sacrifices educational or professional opportunities for the sake of the marriage, family, or household. For instance, a husband may elect to stay home with the children so his wife can pursue an advanced degree and higher paying job. If the couple divorces, he may have fewer professional or economic opportunities than his wife due to the sacrifice. In such cases, a court may require the wife pay alimony to the former husband until he can adequately support himself.

Types of Alimony

The types of alimony available in Florida are set out under Florida Statute 61.08. Under this provision, the court may award one of the following four types of alimony:

  • Bridge the gap: This is a short-term alimony awarded for up to two years, designed to make the transition from married to single easier. It begins after the divorce is final and will help the recipient spouse with identifiable short term needs, such as providing for living expenses while the recipient spouse is finishing a degree.
  • Rehabilitative: This form of alimony has the specific purpose of assisting the recipient spouse in acquiring the training or education necessary to gain appropriate employment. A spouse seeking this type of alimony should submit a rehabilitative plan outlining the funds needed to complete the plan.
  • Durational: Durational alimony can be awarded when other types of alimony are insufficient to meet a spouse’s needs. It does not require submission of a rehabilitative plan. Durational alimony cannot extend for longer than the length of the marriage. For instance, if you and your spouse were married for five years, you cannot receive durational alimony for longer than five years after the divorce.
  • Permanent: Permanent alimony is generally reserved for longer marriages and is awarded to allow a spouse to enjoy the standard of living experienced during the marriage. Permanent alimony is generally awarded in situations where the recipient spouse lacks the ability to become self-supporting at a standard of living close to the marital standard. These spouses may be older or ill.

Permanent Alimony and the Uncontested Divorce

In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse are in control of determining whether either of you will be awarded alimony. It is important that you have a thorough understanding as to the types of alimony and whether you may be entitled to an award of spousal support according to the Florida statutes.

With an understanding as to your legal rights concerning alimony, you, your attorney, and your spouse can work to reach a fair agreement as to the award of alimony.

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Alimony in Florida can be requested when one spouse needs financial assistance. In order to qualify for alimony, the requesting spouse must prove need and that the paying spouse is financially able to make the payments. Alimony is typically a set amount which is paid monthly for a set period of time or until certain circumstances occur, such as remarriage. Alimony is not as common as one may think. The Florida divorce court can award temporary alimony until the final divorce hearing is held. Then, at the final divorce hearing, the court can order permanent alimony if it is requested and necessary.
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