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The truth about spousal support in Florida: Dispelling myths and understanding your options

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Divorce |

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a common concern during divorce. Florida law takes a specific approach to spousal support, often shrouded in misconceptions. Whether you are considering divorce or are already facing the issue of spousal support, understanding the legalities can empower you to make informed decisions.

Here’s what you should know about the truth about spousal support in Florida.

Spousal support is not automatic in Florida divorces. Unlike child support, which is mandatory in most cases, spousal support is awarded based on specific criteria and the judge’s discretion. The court will consider various factors, including the length of the marriage, the financial resources of each spouse and the ability to become self-supporting.

Determining eligibility for spousal support

Several factors influence whether you may be eligible to receive spousal support or obligated to pay it. Here are two key aspects to consider:

  • Length of marriage: Generally, the longer the marriage, the greater the chance of spousal support being awarded. Shorter marriages are less likely to result in spousal support unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  • Financial disparity: The court will consider the financial situation of both spouses. If one spouse has significantly lower earning potential due to staying home to raise children or forgoing career advancement to support the other spouse’s career, they may be eligible for spousal support to achieve financial independence.

Spousal support can help you continue caring for yourself and your lifestyle, especially when divorce is unexpected.

Understanding different types of spousal support

Florida law recognizes several types of spousal support, each serving a specific purpose:

  • Bridge spousal support: This temporary support helps the lower-earning spouse adjust to life after divorce and allows them time to re-enter the workforce or complete necessary training.
  • Rehabilitative spousal support: This type of support is designed to help the lower-earning spouse gain the education or skills necessary to become self-supporting in the long term.
  • Durational spousal support: This is awarded for a set period, often in marriages of long duration where one spouse may have difficulty achieving financial independence.
  • Permanent spousal support: This is rarely awarded in Florida and is typically reserved for exceptional circumstances where one spouse has a long-term disability or is unable to work due to age.

Spousal support is a complex issue in Florida family law. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help you understand your eligibility, potential award amounts and the factors that may influence the court’s decision.