If you have concerns about your finances after divorce, you may want to ask the court for spousal support. This type of support, sometimes called alimony, is a monthly payment or lump sum that helps a spouse who earns less become self-supporting after a marriage ends.
Before filing a divorce petition, learn more about Florida guidelines for spousal support.
Types of alimony
Florida state law defines five types of alimony as follows:
• Lump-sum alimony consists of a single payment of either property or money.
• Durational alimony lasts for a set time period and consists of monthly or biweekly payments.
• Permanent alimony also consists of monthly payments but lasts until the receiving spouse dies or marries someone else.
• Bridge-the-gap alimony helps the lower-earning spouse transition to independent living, either with a lump-sum or regular payments for a few weeks or months.
• Rehabilitative alimony consists of monthly payments to help the lower-earning spouse develop job skills or complete a degree.
Factors in Florida alimony determination
When a couple agrees on an alimony arrangement, they can detail this agreement in their divorce petition. When the couple does not agree, the judge will determine whether spousal support is appropriate and designate an amount. He or she will consider:
• How each spouse contributed to the other’s career
• How each spouse contributed to raising minor children, if any
• Whether the lower-earning spouse needs training or education to become self-supporting
• The assets and debts each spouse will receive in the divorce
• Each spouse’s ability to earn a living and current income
• Each spouse’s existing financial resources
• The age and physical and mental health of each spouse
• The length of the marriage
• The standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage
• Whether either person is at fault for the divorce
Unless the marriage lasted more than 17 years, permanent alimony is rare. However, you should make a realistic budget to determine the amount of money you will need to live independently in a separate household along with a plan to become financially self-sufficient.