How to Calculate Lifetime Alimony in Florida

By Elizabeth Rayne

An understanding of the factors involved in a determination of the type and amount of alimony that can be awarded creates more realistic expectations heading into court. In Florida, lifetime alimony, also known as permanent alimony, can be deemed appropriate in certain situations. While the parties can reach a mutual agreement on the issue of alimony, the court will look to specific factors, including financial need and ability to pay, in ordering lifetime alimony payment amounts. Further, modification or termination may be requested if there is a substantial change of circumstances.

An understanding of the factors involved in a determination of the type and amount of alimony that can be awarded creates more realistic expectations heading into court. In Florida, lifetime alimony, also known as permanent alimony, can be deemed appropriate in certain situations. While the parties can reach a mutual agreement on the issue of alimony, the court will look to specific factors, including financial need and ability to pay, in ordering lifetime alimony payment amounts. Further, modification or termination may be requested if there is a substantial change of circumstances.

Alimony Overview

In Florida, the award of alimony is not automatic in any divorce case; it is up to the discretion of the judge based on the specifics of the case. The state does not have a specific formula for calculating alimony. However, the general principle is that alimony awards are predicated on one party's need for support and the other's ability to pay.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Lifetime Alimony Considerations

Lifetime alimony, or permanent periodic alimony, may be awarded in some cases to a financially dependent spouse. It may also be awarded to balance out an unfair distribution of property. The court will consider a number of factors in determining whether permanent alimony is appropriate, including the duration of the marriage, the financial situation and earning capacity of each party, educational attainment and marketable skills, as well as other sources of income available. Additionally, the court will consider contributions made during the marriage, including situations where one party sacrificed a career to take care of the home. Where the court finds alimony appropriate, and the other party has the means, the disadvantaged party may be awarded lifetime alimony in order to maintain the standard of living that existed prior to divorce.

Marriage Duration

A major factor for awarding permanent alimony is the duration of the marriage. When a marriage is considered to be a "long-term" marriage, the court is more likely to award permanent support. Under Florida law, a short-term marriage is defined as one that lasted less than seven years, while a moderate-term marriage is one that lasted between seven and 17 years. A long-term marriage, which generally leads to permanent alimony, is one that lasted 17 years or more.

Alimony Agreements

A divorcing couple has the option to reach their own agreement regarding permanent alimony instead of leaving the decision up to the court. The couple must submit the agreement to the court, which will accept it if it is found to be fair. However, the court has the discretion to modify the agreement if it finds the agreement unjust to one party.

Termination and Modification

Certain factors may allow a party to terminate alimony, or modify the amount. In Florida, alimony may be terminated or reduced when the receiving party remarries, cohabits with another person, or enters into an otherwise supportive relationship. Additionally, either party can request a modification of alimony if there is a substantial change in circumstances. The receiving party may request an increase in alimony, just as the paying party may request a decrease in alimony, if either of their financial situations changes significantly.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Determine Alimony in SC

References

Related articles

Will He Still Have to Pay Alimony With a No Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania?

When spouses file for divorce in Pennsylvania, a financially weaker spouse may be entitled to alimony. Pennsylvania courts award alimony based on financial need. It is not a punishment for any misconduct that may have caused the divorce. Even if spouses are filing for a no fault divorce, one of them may still owe alimony to the other.

Washington State Alimony Laws

Washington state law sets forth the procedure for dividing property and awarding alimony when spouses divorce or a domestic partnership dissolves. Alimony, also called spousal support or maintenance, is a monetary award paid by one spouse to the other after marital property has been divided by the court.

Can an Ex-Wife Get Alimony After a Divorce in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, it is possible to petition for alimony after the divorce is final, provided certain procedural requirements are met prior to the judgment. In North Carolina, divorcing spouses generally pursue an "absolute divorce," which, unlike a fault-based divorce, is granted solely on the basis of the couple's one-year separation. This type of divorce is most similar to the "no-fault" divorce followed by many other jurisdictions and does not require allegations of fault or misconduct. Also, fault-based divorces generally require lengthy hearings prior to finalization to work out other matters, whereas an absolute divorce allows parties to obtain a divorce and work out other issues afterward. Alimony is one of many issues decided during the divorce, and parties to an absolute divorce are free to agree to their own alimony terms during marital settlement negotiations, which can occur either before or after finalization.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Calculate Alimony in New Hampshire

The marriage relationship is supportive in nature. For that reason, courts in New Hampshire are sensitive to the needs ...

Divorce Law in New Hampshire for Alimony

Following a divorce, alimony may be awarded to help a struggling spouse transition to single life, with the hope that ...

How to Figure Alimony Payments in Iowa

After divorce, one spouse is sometimes left without financial resources to support herself, but alimony -- sometimes ...

Alimony Laws in Tennessee

Alimony is a monetary award paid to the financially weaker spouse after a divorce. Tennessee courts can award one of ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED