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Your Alimony Questions Answered: Spousal Support in Florida Divorce

Spousal support – or alimony – is always a contentious part of divorce, and many of you have lots of good questions on the topic. 

Here, our alimony lawyers answer some of the most common ones we’ve received from clients like you who are wondering about all things alimony. 

Am I entitled to alimony even without kids?

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. 

My soon-to-be ex-wife makes more money than me. Can I ask for alimony? 

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. 

How long do alimony payments last?

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.

Can I stop paying alimony?

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.

Do I Have to Pay Alimony if I Have Custody?

Alimony and child custody are separate aspects in divorce proceedings. Having custody of your children doesn’t automatically exempt you from alimony obligations. The court considers various factors, including financial circumstances, to determine alimony payments. Consult with a divorce attorney for guidance on your specific case.

What disqualifies you from receiving alimony?

Alimony payments are intended to last for the duration of the judgment, but various factors may impact the arrangement. One significant factor is if the recipient of alimony remarries or begins cohabitating with a new supportive partner. In Florida, cohabitation can be grounds for alimony modification or termination. It’s crucial to understand that if the recipient enters a new relationship that provides financial support, they may no longer be eligible to receive alimony payments.

Alimony laws in Florida are designed to ensure that support is provided to those in genuine need, and significant life changes, such as new relationships, can affect the need for ongoing financial assistance. If you believe that a change in circumstances has occurred that should affect your alimony arrangement, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can assess your situation and provide guidance on seeking a modification or termination of alimony payments.

What’s the difference between child support and alimony? Do you have to pay both?

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 schedule a free consultation with our team at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group. 


Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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