Alimony in Jacksonville Florida Divorce Cases
Either spouse may be entitled to some form of alimony in the State of Florida. Whether a spouse is awarded alimony depends on the particular facts of each case. A spouse seeking alimony must prove he/she has a need for the alimony and that the other spouse has the ability to pay alimony. The Court will take into account factors such as the parties’ standard of living while they were married to each other, the duration of the marriage, their ages, and the health of each party.
Both marital and the non-marital assets will be taken into account in determining each party’s need and ability to pay. One spouse’s income will be reduced by the amount of child support he/she is required to pay the other party, and the Court’s distribution of the marital liabilities of the marriage is also considered. In many cases, such adjustments place the parties in equal positions financially. For this reason, alimony is typically the last issue to be decided by the Court.
The most common types of alimony in Florida are rehabilitative and permanent. Rehabilitative alimony is implemented temporarily by the Court to allow the receiving spouse a transition to self-support. The idea is that the alimony will be used while this spouse redevelops of a previous skill or develops a new skill. Permanent alimony, on the other hand, is support paid to the spouse for an indeterminate period of time, usually until the receiving spouse remarries or one of the spouses passes away. While the Court sets the duration of rehabilitative alimony, the duration of permanent alimony is not set. Whether rehabilitative or permanent, the Court may order the alimony payments to be made on a periodic (monthly) basis or in lump sum or both.
Permanent or rehabilitative alimony can be changed or terminated depending upon what’s called a substantial change in circumstances. The change must be significant, involuntary (if a spouse is claiming loss of income) and not contemplated at the time the Final Judgment was entered. A significant change may be a receiving spouse’s increased income or a paying spouse’s decreased income.
Each divorce is different, and neither party should make assumptions about the issue of alimony without first consulting an attorney. Alimony tends to be the most complex divorce issue, and it is also the issue most difficult to predict.
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