Florida Family Law: Your Guide to Durational Alimony
Alimony (spousal support/spousal maintenance) is an obligation that one has to provide financial support to their former spouse following a marital separation. In Florida, there are multiple types of spousal support — including the newest type: durational alimony. In this article, our divorce lawyers based in Coral Springs and Boca Raton provide a comprehensive overview of the most important things that you need to know about durational alimony in Florida.
What is Durational Alimony?
Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 61.08), courts may award durational alimony when permanent periodic alimony is determined to be inequitable. In other words, durational alimony can be awarded in a divorce that followed a short marriage or moderate length marriage — as this is a situation in which Florida policymakers have decided that it is unfair to require a spouse to provide permanent support. Notably, Florida’s alimony statute contains the following basic classifications of marriage duration:
- A short marriage is less than seven years;
- A moderate length marriage is between seven years and seventeen years; and
- A long marriage is longer than seventeen years.
Durational Alimony is Limited By the Length of the Marriage
Florida law explicitly states that durational alimony may not be longer than the total duration of the marriage. Put another way, if your marriage lasted for nine years — a moderate length marriage in the eyes of Florida law — the maximum length of any durational alimony would be nine years. Additionally, durational alimony is typically not eligible for modification. In fact, Florida’s statutes clearly state that a durational alimony award can only be modified under exceptional circumstances.
Durational Alimony: The Factors that Matter
It should be made clear that alimony, including durational alimony, is never guaranteed in Florida. Spousal support is not an issue in every divorce proceeding. Instead, alimony is a matter that must always be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In crafting a fair and equitable durational alimony award, Florida courts can review a wide array of different factors, such as:
- The standard of living set during the marriage;
- The future economic earning potential of each spouse;
- The health status of each spouse;
- The precise length of the marriage;
- Whether either partner sacrificed personal economic gain to support the marriage; and
- Other factors deemed material to craft a fair alimony award.
The larger the income gap between the spouses, the more likely it is that some form of durational alimony will be awarded. If durational alimony is an issue in your divorce case, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a skilled Florida divorce lawyer who has experience handling complex spousal support cases.
Discuss Your Alimony Case With Our Divorce Attorneys Right Away
At Williams & Varsegi, LLC, our Florida divorce lawyers have the skills and experience needed to handle the complete range of durational alimony cases. For a fully private, no obligation consultation, please contact our law firm today. From our offices in Coral Springs and Boca Raton, we provide family law services in Palm Beach County and Broward County.