Alimony, Spousal Support and Maintenance in Florida Divorce

As of 2010, there are more reliable statutory criteria for determining the type of alimony to be awarded, but the reality is that seven different judges might come to seven different conclusions about the type, amount and duration of spousal support.

The Law Office of Beth Reineke is committed to alternatives to litigation, including mediation of initial awards of alimony and post-divorce modifications of alimony. Family law attorney Beth G. Reineke is a Supreme Court Certified mediator. She draws on more than 25 years of experience in and out of the Florida family courts to help you negotiate the financial issues of divorce without resorting to litigation.

Working Out the Specifics of Alimony

Based in Tampa, Florida, we provide divorce mediation, collaborative divorce and uncontested divorce services to divorcing couples throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties of Florida. Arrange a free phone consultation today.

Alimony Mediator Serving Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg

Alimony (also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance) is a payment from one spouse to another to equalize incomes and standard of living. The Florida Legislature overhauled the alimony statutes in 2010 in hopes of making alimony awards more predictable and fairer. The new law defines short-term marriage (less than 7 years), moderate-term marriage (7 to 17 years) and long-term marriage (more than 17 years), and creates a new category of “durational alimony” for marriages that previously fell into the gray area between short and long marriages.

Types of Spousal Support Under Florida’s New Alimony Law

Attorney Reineke can walk you through the types of alimony and run alimony projections to help you determine the appropriate type, amount and duration of alimony based on your situation:

  • Temporary alimony may be agreed between the parties or ordered by the court while the divorce is pending.
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony is a one-time payment or short-term alimony to help one spouse get situated after divorce, such as money for new housing and living expenses. The maximum length is two years and the amount and duration cannot be modified.
  • Rehabilitative alimony is awarded when a spouse needs financial support to obtain a college degree, re-establish a career or otherwise become financially independent. It typically requires a specific rehabilitative plan, and it can be modified or terminated early, upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon abandonment or completion of the plan.
  • Durational alimony is awarded in a short-term or moderate-term marriage when there is economic disparity but permanent alimony is not merited. It provides support for a set period of time which may not exceed the length of the marriage. The amount of durational alimony can be modified, but not the length. It terminates if either party dies or if the recipient remarries.
  • Permanent alimony is ongoing monthly payments to a spouse until he or she dies or remarries. It usually applies only in long-term marriages, but it can apply in moderate-term marriages, especially when one spouse cannot become self-supporting because of age, disability or lack of employable skills.

Does Alimony Apply in Your Florida Divorce?

Alimony can be in the form of regular payments or it can be in the form of a lump sum settlement paid at the time of the divorce. Under the new law, courts must consider the following statutory factors in awarding or declining to award alimony:

  • Accustomed standard of living
  • Length of the marriage
  • Age and health of both spouses
  • Financial resources available to each spouse
  • Earning capacity, education and marketable skills
  • Contributions to the marriage
  • Responsibilities to minor children in common
  • The tax consequences of an alimony award
  • All sources of income, including investment returns
  • Need and ability to pay
  • Other factors affecting equity and justice

Hillsborough County Spousal Support Mediation

Contact us online or call 813-205-6675 to explore in a free phone consultation whether you could benefit from having a lawyer mediate the alimony issues in your Florida divorce. The Law Office of Beth Reineke serves Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Area.