How Does Durational Alimony in Florida Work

Durational alimony in Florida is an arrangement to provide financial support for a specific period following a divorce. Under state law, numerous factors can affect both eligibility for alimony and how much an individual is entitled to in alimony payments. Dedicated and experienced family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A., have the resources to navigate a complex durational alimony proceeding. If you are facing the prospect of divorce in Florida, contact us today.

Going through a divorce is never pleasant, and it’s made worse with the possibility of alimony payments. Whether you are liable for alimony payments to your ex-spouse or need to secure an alimony arrangement to get financial support, the process is often filled with stress, confusion, and dread. 

Though the specifics may vary, durational alimony is generally an alimony arrangement that lasts for a specific timeframe. 

But with so many different relevant factors and changes in Florida divorce law, durational alimony arrangements are too complicated to face independently. With the seasoned legal professionals at The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A., you can get the support you need to navigate the complicated world of durational alimony while protecting your finances, rights, and well-being. 

Understanding Durational Alimony

Definition and Purpose

Alimony, also known as “spousal support,” is temporary financial support one spouse provides the other during a divorce and for some time after. Either spouse may be eligible for alimony. It is generally intended to support receiving spouses until they can support themselves.

Durational alimony in Florida (Florida Statute 61.08) is an arrangement established to provide financial support for a specific timeframe. The alimony payments are not permanent. However, unlike rehabilitative alimony, the payments are not contingent on a specific rehabilitation plan on the part of the alimony recipient during the agreed-upon timeframe. 

The timeframe for durational alimony payments is less than the length of the marriage itself and is much shorter for marriages of less than 20 years. 

Durational alimony may be influenced by factors other than the length of the marriage. For example, if a couple divorces with children under 18, one party may request a durational alimony arrangement for the time the children will still be dependent. 

Eligibility Criteria

In July 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 1416 into law. This measure made several important changes to Florida’s divorce and alimony law. The measure eliminated permanent alimony and also made several changes to the durational alimony eligibility criteria.

Under this new Florida law, the divorcing couple must have been married for at least three years for a spouse to be eligible for durational alimony payments. A party’s means of financial support, net income, and employability may also affect the specific durational alimony payments they receive. If the spouse who wants to receive alimony committed adultery during the marriage, that might factor into limiting their eligibility for durational alimony under this new law. 

Factors Considered in Durational Alimony Determination

Whether you are facing the prospect of making or receiving alimony payments, you should be aware of the specific factors that may determine durational alimony arrangements under Florida law. Major factors include the following:

Length of Marriage

Under Florida law, the length of the marriage is a major factor in determining durational alimony eligibility. 

  • Marriages lasting less than three years are not eligible for durational alimony arrangements. 
  • Short-term marriages are those that lasted between three and ten years. They can result in durational alimony arrangements of no more than 50 percent of the marriage’s duration.
  • Medium-term marriages are those that lasted between 10 and 20 years. Durational alimony arrangements for such marriages cannot last longer than 60 percent of the marriage length. 
  • Long-term marriages are those that lasted longer than 20 years. Durational alimony arrangements for such marriages cannot last longer than 75 percent of the marriage length. 

Standard of Living During Marriage

Under Florida’s amended divorce law, a judge may consider “the standard of living established during the marriage” as a factor in awarding durational alimony, though it is now only one of several interrelated factors. Now, the standard of living is relevant to durational alimony to the extent it pertains to “the anticipated needs and necessities of life for each party after the entry of the final judgment.” 

Financial Resources and Earning Capacities

The financial resources of both parties in a divorce are now relevant to durational alimony arrangements in Florida. According to SB 1416, the court will now determine an amount equivalent to 35 percent or less of the difference between the net incomes of both parties or what is otherwise determined to be a “reasonable need” for one spouse, whichever is less.

The court may also consider the liable party’s circumstances when awarding or modifying a durational alimony arrangement. The liable party’s age, financial resources, and employability or retirement eligibility may now factor into a durational alimony arrangement. 

Contributions to the Marriage

Contributions to the marriage, including childcare, homemaking, career building, and education, may also factor into durational alimony rulings. Additionally, under SB 1416, proven instances of adultery during the marriage and “any resulting economic impact” can factor into a party’s durational alimony eligibility.

Legal Process and Considerations

Durational alimony arrangements are one part of a longer process of divorce proceedings. Understanding this process—and the importance of legal representation—can help you navigate durational alimony issues effectively. 

Filing for Divorce

The process of filing for divorce in Florida is fairly straightforward in and of itself. Florida residents can file a Dissolution of Marriage form to begin the divorce process. However, while this process does not require legal representation, issues such as alimony, child support, and property division are complicated and can quickly become overwhelming. 

If you are looking to file for divorce and believe there’s even a chance you will face the issue of durational alimony during the proceedings, you should have divorce lawyers representing you. The family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker can help you through every step of this process.

Court Proceedings

During divorce proceedings, a judge will look at all relevant factors for both parties, such as incomes, financial support, and contributions to the marriage. 

The judge will then decide whether a durational alimony arrangement is warranted, how long it should last, and how much the alimony payments should be. No matter which side you stand on during these proceedings, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, PA, will fight for your rights throughout the entire process. 

Modification and Termination

Under certain circumstances, a durational alimony arrangement can be modified or terminated later. This can include the recipient getting remarried or achieving greater financial self-support. It might also involve changes in the financial circumstances of the liable party, such as loss of employment, retirement, or other changes in life circumstances. 

In these cases, a judge may reduce the timeline of the alimony payments, payment amounts, or both. Unless specified in the agreed-upon arrangement, either party can request a modification or termination of the durational alimony during the timeframe. 

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Durational Alimony Help from The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker

With so many factors at play, durational alimony in Florida is extremely difficult to manage in even the best circumstances. With recent changes to Florida divorce law, individuals without adequate legal help can end up in a much worse place. The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker has dedicated attorneys with extensive experience navigating the complex world of Florida alimony law. 

With The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, you can protect your rights, get what you deserve, and conduct your divorce proceedings on the best possible terms. So, rather than facing the prospect of durational alimony alone, contact us for the help, support, and resources you need. 

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