Alimony Revision in Florida Effective July 1, 2010 – Part 2
The new alimony law requires a finding that there is a need for the alimony, otherwise known as support or maintenance, and that the other party has the ability to pay. Once this is determined, then the court will look at the following factors to determine the type and amount of alimony to award (FL Statutes 61.08):
1. The standard of living established during the marriage.
2. The duration of the marriage.
3. The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
4. The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
5. The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
6. The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
7. The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
8. The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.
9. All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
10. Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
A synopsis of the types of alimony:
- Bridge the gap alimony: assists a party with identifiable short-term needs and may not exceed 2 years. It terminates upon the death of either party and it is non-modifiable in duration or amount.
- Rehabilitative alimony: assists a party to establish the capacity for self-support. There must be a defined rehabilitative plan. It can be modified or terminated if there is a substantial change in circumstances, or non-compliance or completion of the plan.
- Durational alimony: This is a new category of alimony implemented when permanent periodic alimony is not appropriate. It provides financial assistance for a set period of time following a short or moderate term marriage (see Part 1 of this series). It terminates upon the death of either party or upon remarriage of the party receiving the alimony. The amount of the award can be modified upon a showing of a substantial change of circumstances; however, the length of the award may only be modified under exceptional circumstances and it cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
- Permanent periodic alimony (paid monthly for the remainder of the payee’s life): This is usually awarded after a long term marriage, although it can be awarded after a moderate term marriage if appropriate considering the factors listed above, and after a short term marriage, if there are exceptional circumstances, i.e., the payee becomes permanently disabled during the marriage and can no longer work. It terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the payee. It may modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship as defined in FL Statutes s. 61.14.
- Lump sum alimony: In any alimony award, the court may order monthly periodic payments or lump sum payments or any combination thereof.