Is spousal support still awarded in Florida divorces?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | Alimony |

Alimony reform is a frequent topic in most states, including Florida. With so much media attention, misconceptions can arise about the current state of spousal support.

Contrary to common misconceptions, spousal support, also known as alimony, can still be negotiated – and awarded in the event of litigated divorces – in the Sunshine State. However, the legal landscape has shifted significantly over the years.

In the past, alimony was nearly guaranteed, often awarded to wives. Today, courts take a more nuanced approach in litigated cases, focusing on need rather than tradition.

Alimony in the modern era

Courts now award alimony in litigated disputes only when a spouse demonstrates genuine financial need. For example, support is often necessary for former stay-at-home parents (of any gender) to obtain education or training to achieve self-sufficiency.

Florida recognizes several types of alimony:

  • Temporary: Short-term support to help a spouse maintain the marital standard of living while the divorce concludes.
  • Bridge-the-gap: Short-term, non-modifiable alimony to help a spouse adjust financially to single life while covering expenses like new housing, car payments or childcare.
  • Rehabilitative: Helps spouses with few earning prospects (homemakers, caregivers, etc.) gain job skills for increased self-sufficiency.
  • Durational: Typically based on marriage duration, this type of alimony provides support for a set time to help a spouse achieve financial stability.

Florida alimony comes in periodic monthly payments (most common) or a single lump sum payment. Be aware that a lump sum, paid in cash, property, or both, settles everything upfront if both parties agree and the payer has the assets.

Understanding these realities and state spousal support laws is crucial for someone concerned about financial matters during a contentious divorce. Legal guidance can help add strength to an alimony petition or spousal support negotiations.

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