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A Brief Explanation of Alimony in the State of Florida

 

 

Hello. I'm Kenny Leigh of Kenny Leigh and Associates. Our firm exclusively represents men in the area of family law. I'm here today with attorney Andrew Garrow and we're going to talk about alimony. Can you give a brief explanation of what alimony is?

So alimony, in a nutshell, is another name for spousal support. It is when the court determines that one spouse should be paying towards the bills of the other spouse. Kind of a brief summary.

All right. And there are several different forms of alimony. Let's go one by one first of all, how is alimony usually determined?

So there's a lot of factors that nuance that go into it but overall the court’s gonna look at: Does the person requesting it have a financial need for the alimony? And: Does the person paying it have the financial ability to pay it? So they look at the incomes or income earning potential of each side as well as the monthly expenses for each side.

Okay. The biggest alimony that everyone is afraid of is what is called permanent alimony. Could you please describe what permanent alimony is?

Sure. So permanent alimony is when the court can order alimony on a permanent basis. But in this instance, permanent doesn't always mean permanent. It could be until further order of the court. it is modifiable all.

These forms of alimony generally, are modifiable.

Okay well, how would you modify permanent alimony? What are the ways you can do it?

Well, basically, we've established a permanent alimony can't go on forever, until death but there are other ways that it stops.

Give some examples of how.

It just automatically stops without having to modify it. So the easiest way for it to stop would be if the spouse receiving alimony remarried.

Okay. At that point, it will automatically stop. Also, you can go back to modify it if there's been a substantial change of circumstance.

Such as what?

So, let's say you reached a normal retirement age and your income goes significantly down. That could be a basis to lower or terminate your alimony.

Okay. What if they live with somebody? Another example. Sometimes if the spouse receiving alimony is in a financially supportive relationship where they're splitting bills with someone else and living too, sometimes that can be used to modify it as well.

Okay. Another form of alimony that people are curious about is what it's called “rehabilitative alimony.” What is that?

So that's a real specific type of alimony. It's kind of rare, but it's essentially when one spouse has been like a stay-at-home parent for the majority of the marriage. They haven't been in the workforce for a long time. So rehabilitative alimony is a type where that spouse can get back into the workforce after some training or classes and then hopefully be able to support themselves financially. And then usually lasts approximately two years. It can last longer but give or take, it can it can vary. It depends on how long it will take them to get the necessary training they need.

Okay. Durational alimony is another form of alimony. What what is durational alimony?

So, durational alimony is a form that can be ordered up to at most the length of the marriage. So, for instance, if you are married for eight years, this alimony at most could be ordered up to eight years. But, it could be less than that four years, five years anything up to the max.

Okay. The length of the marriage and all of those alimonies that we spoke up just now are all modifiable?

That's correct. Generally, these alimonies are modifiable.

Again, going back to if there's ever a substantial change of circumstances, not easy right?

It is not an easy hurdle to get over, but we can definitely help our clients and do on a frequent basis go back to lower or sometimes terminating their alimony obligations.

Okay, temporary alimony. What is that?

So, when the divorce is filed, sometimes there's a lot of chaos on both sides. They don't know what's happening, who's gonna pay what, certain bills. So, sometimes the court can intervene while the divorce is pending and enter a temporary order to say, just on a temporary basis, until the divorce is done, this is how much alimony is going to be so that's during the divorce proceedings.

Correct. So kind of temporary basis regarding tax consequences of alimony tax laws vary and so you need to speak with an accountant regarding taxes, regarding your particular form of alimony. But essentially alimony is based on need and ability to pay and it is modifiable, provided you don't come to an agreement that makes it non-modifiable, which in most cases we would not recommend you to have that type of agreement anyway.

I'm Kenny Leigh. At Kenny Leigh and Associates our firm exclusively represents men in the area of family law.

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