Family Law And Alimony Attorneys in Jacksonville
Jacksonville Family Law: Alimony
Going through a divorce invariably means going through a lot of changes. For most people, one of the most daunting aspects of ending a marriage is learning to live as a single person again – something that can be a big adjustment financially, especially for someone who has stayed home to raise children or look after the family home. If you have spent years outside the workforce, you may be panicking about how you’re going to pay bills, look after your children’s needs, and maintain your lifestyle. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced family law and alimony lawyer in Jacksonville.
What Is Alimony?
Unlike child support, which is awarded to support the financial needs of the couple’s children, alimony is designed to provide financial support to one spouse. There is no mathematical formula for calculating alimony – another way alimony differs from child support. Although some people believe alimony is only awarded to the wife in a divorce, this is incorrect. Gender is not a factor in alimony determinations. Courts in Florida can award alimony to either the husband or the wife.
Alimony goes by a few different names. In some states, it is referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance.” In Florida, however, it’s simply called alimony. Under Florida Statute Section 61.08, alimony can take four forms: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent.
- Bridge-the-gap. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to help an individual make the transition from married to single life. The law limits this type of alimony to two years.
- Rehabilitative. In some cases, a spouse needs to acquire new skills or redevelop old ones to reenter the workforce. Rehabilitative alimony can give a spouse the financial support he or she needs to pursue training or education.
- Durational. If permanent alimony is inappropriate in a divorce, the court may award durational alimony. This type of alimony can’t extend longer than the length of the marriage.
- Permanent. In some cases, permanent alimony is appropriate. For example, in a marriage of a very long duration, it may not be possible or feasible for a spouse to acquire new skills or training. In other cases, a spouse has a health condition that prevents him or her from working. Florida is one of just a handful of states that permits permanent alimony, and it is something of a contentious issue. In April 2016, Governor Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have eliminated permanent alimony in Florida.
Under the statute, the court has authority to award a combination of different types of alimony, or to award alimony in a lump sum or spread across periodic payments.
Factors Florida Courts Consider When Awarding Alimony
In Florida, courts look at a variety of factors when determining whether to award alimony, what type of alimony to award, and how much the paying spouse should pay. These factors include:
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living the parties enjoyed during the marriage
- Each spouse’s age
- The health of each spouse
- Each person’s financial resources, including the distribution of assets in the divorce
- Both parties’ sources of income
- Both spouses’ earning potential, educational level, and employability
- The parties’ contributions to the marriage, including childrearing and homemaking
- Whether one spouse supported the other’s pursuit of education or career-building
- The responsibilities of each spouse toward the children
- The tax treatment and consequences of alimony for both spouses
The court can also consider any other relevant factors that influence whether the case merits alimony and how much should be awarded. Under the statute, the court can also consider either spouse’s infidelity in making its alimony determination.
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Facing a Divorce? Talk to Our Team of Jacksonville Family Law And Alimony Lawyers
Whether you’re facing the prospect of paying alimony, or you are concerned about having enough money to support yourself after your divorce, a family law and alimony lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida can help. Divorce can be a scary time in your life, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life. With the right help, support, and guidance, you can get through your divorce and make a fresh start.