Spousal support – or alimony – is always a contentious part of divorce, and many of you have lots of good questions on the topic.
Here we answer some of the most common ones we’ve received from clients like you who are wondering about all things alimony.
Yes, alimony payments are separate from child support payments. You do not have to have kids in order to be eligible for alimony. The court will make alimony determinations based on one person’s need and another person’s ability to pay – regardless of whether or not you have kids.
Alimony has a reputation for being something an ex-husband pays his ex-wife, but gender is an irrelevant factor when it comes to spousal support. The court will evaluate factual evidence of the relationship and, per factors outline in Florida Statute §61.08, determine whether there is a need for spousal support payments or maintenance.
In Florida, the court will decide how long alimony payments will last, and usually length of a marriage is one of the most important factors in determining how long those payments will last. There are various types of alimony, including permanent alimony, durational alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony, and rehabilitative alimony – all which are intended to help the lower income spouse maintain financial stability after divorce.
Post-judgment modifications to an alimony ruling can be difficult to obtain. You must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances that could not have been anticipated at the time of initial ruling for a modification to be considered. For alimony payments to stop altogether, generally the receiving spouse must be involved in a new supporting relationship – thereby no longer need financial support from you, the payor.
Alimony payments are intended to last for the duration of the judgment, but there are factors that may impact the arrangement. Specifically, if the receiver remarries or begins cohabitating with a new supportive partner, they may no longer be eligible to receive alimony payments.
Child support payments are intended for the benefit of any children resulting from the marriage, whereas alimony is a benefit intended for the spouse. Child support obligations are to be used solely for the care of the children, and the amount you may owe can be easily calculated based on your monthly income and the number of children you have. Alimony is a separate determination made based on one person’s need and another person’s ability to pay. Yes, it is possible that you may have to pay both depending on your circumstances.
For more answers to your alimony, child support and Florida family law questions, please get in touch with our team at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group.