Obtaining, Modifying And Challenging Spousal Support
As a general rule, spouses are obligated to support each other, and this obligation does not cease if they get divorced. From situations involving a stay-at-home spouse who has been out of the workforce for many years, to a primary wage earner who is concerned with permanent spousal support, an experienced and dedicated lawyer can make the difference as you plan your new future.
At the Law Offices of Kelley A. Joseph, P.A., we represent spouses on a wide range of spousal support issues. We understand that spousal support, formerly known as alimony, can be a trigger issue that can cause cases to become heavily litigated. In most of these matters, there is room to negotiate, and as an experienced alimony attorney, Kelley A. Joseph will do everything possible to negotiate spousal support agreements that are equitable for both parties and protect her clients’ interests.
How Florida Courts Determine Spousal Support
In Florida, the courts’ approach to financial support is similar to their approach to property and asset division: Rather than splitting everything up equally, the courts attempt to reach solutions that are equitable, or fair, for both parties, all things considered.
In contrast to cases involving child support, there are no spousal support calculators or guidelines to direct the decision-making process. Attorney Kelley A. Joseph has a wealth of experience handling temporary relief and emergency relief matters in the Florida courts.
Factors Influencing Spousal Support
The amount of spousal support depends on the facts of each situation after consideration of many factors, including:
- Length of the marriage
- Age, health conditions and work history of each spouse
- Annual income
- Contributions of both parties
- Lifestyle maintained during the marriage
- Amount of marital and nonmarital assets and liabilities
Types Of Spousal Support In Florida
In Florida, the receiving spouse must prove that there is both a need on his or her part and that the paying spouse has the ability to pay the requested support. There are five main types of alimony which can be awarded to either a husband or a wife as part of the divorce proceeding:
- Temporary alimony: This is support paid during the actual divorce proceeding. This financial support during divorce is temporary and does not continue after the divorce.
- Bridge the gap alimony: This provides a maximum of two years of assistance to a dependent spouse to help make the transition to a divorced life. Bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable in length or amount. It stops or is terminated when the receiving spouse remarries or either spouse dies.
- Durational alimony: This alimony may be awarded in short (less than seven years) or moderate duration (seven-17 years) marriages where permanent alimony is not appropriate. This type of support cannot be awarded for a period longer than the length of the marriage and, like bridge-the-gap alimony, it terminates upon remarriage or death of either spouse. It may also be modified where either party can prove there has been a substantial change of circumstances.
- Rehabilitative alimony: This is money awarded to a dependent spouse so that he or she can become self-supporting. It allows a spouse who has been out of the workforce to develop education, training or work experience to become self-sufficient. A rehabilitative plan must be included as part of the award of rehabilitative alimony, and may be modified upon a substantial change of circumstances, or if the receiving spouse fails to follow or complete the plan.
- Permanent alimony: This is an option in cases where the receiving spouse lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs following the divorce. Permanent alimony is long-term financial support and must be awarded in a long-term marriage (17 years or greater). It is possible in a moderate-term marriage if there are supporting factors. In general, this support terminates when the recipient spouse remarries or either spouse dies. It can be modified upon proof of a substantial change of circumstances or existence of a supportive relationship as defined in the statutes.
Post-Divorce Enforcement And Modification
When one of the parties is not paying spousal support as required by the divorce decree, the other party can seek an injunction from the court to modify or enforce payment. In other cases, the financial circumstances change substantially enough to justify modifications to the spousal support provisions of a divorce decree.
Contact Attorney Kelley A. Joseph
To schedule a consultation to learn more about how our office can help answer your spousal support calculation questions, contact our Plantation family law firm or call our office at 954-703-4091. We represent clients in Fort Lauderdale and throughout South Florida.