Alimony in Florida
The subject of alimony can be a difficult one, and most men and women have very different opinions on it. However, regardless of varying beliefs and opinions, alimony is still a popular discussion in many divorce proceedings.
Regardless of whether you will be the receiving spouse or the paying spouse, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities. Speak with an alimony lawyer in Stuart, FL, who will protect your interests. Call to schedule a confidential case review.
What is alimony?
Alimony is also known as “spousal support” or “maintenance.” In general, alimony is often temporary financial support that one spouse provides to another while a divorce is pending and for some time after. Either spouse may be eligible for alimony.
Typically, a court determines whether to award alimony and the terms of the payments after it performs an equitable distribution of assets. Spouses can agree to alimony terms if they are working out the terms of the divorce, but the agreement will still need to be approved by the court and entered in an order.
Alimony in Florida is intended to lift the receiving spouse into the position in which he or she can become self-supporting. They are not meant to punish one spouse, but to bring the spouse with fewer resources into a position in which they can provide for themselves.
The Different Types of Alimony in Florida
In the State of Florida, alimony is also known as maintenance and is broken down into the following different categories:
- Bridge-the-gap alimony
- Rehabilitative alimony
- Duration alimony
- Permanent alimony
Depending on the circumstances of the marriage and the divorce, including the length of the marriage, finances, and even reasons for divorce, the Court may grant alimony to either spouse.
What type of alimony can be awarded in my case?
Alimony is not awarded as a routine matter in Florida. Rather, it is awarded as a solution to a hurdle. The type of hurdle in your divorce will determine the type of alimony that you may receive or be ordered to pay.
- Bridge-the-gap alimony is intended to address the transitional period that a spouse with fewer resources undergoes when shifting from being married to being single. It is temporary and addresses specific costs and bills that a spouse will incur in the life change.
- Rehabilitative alimony may be granted to allow a spouse to obtain or change to a different career. It requires a specific plan detailing the educational or vocational program the spouse will take part in, the time involved, the cost, and an estimate of when the spouse expects to become self-supporting.
- Duration alimony is a catch-all that can be awarded for up to two years when the situation warrants, but the receiving spouse does not qualify for a different type of alimony.
- Permanent alimony may be available if the marriage was of a moderate or long duration when the receiving spouse does not otherwise have the resources to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
Taxation of Alimony in Florida
In January 2019, federal tax laws were updated for all divorces effective after January 1st, 2019. The new law stipulates that alimony recipients will no longer have to report alimony payments as taxable income.
This is great news for alimony recipients, however, not necessarily for those who must make alimony payments… Alimony payers are no longer able to report alimony payments, which could be a costly change.
Alimony payments that do not meet the formal tax-law definition of alimony are typically seen as child support payments or payments related to equitable distribution. This could mean that alimony payers aren’t able to claim these payments as personal expenses, but could be tax-free money for the recipient.
Can you change spousal support in Florida?
A change in an alimony award is referred to as “modification”. If the alimony is ordered by the court, the court will usually retain jurisdiction and discretion to modify the alimony in the event of a substantial and material change. Some examples of qualifying changes include remarriage of the receiving spouse, job loss, substantial pay raise, or the death of one spouse.
The bar to modify spousal support is high and it is not always permissible. However, when a spouse experiences a drastic and unexpected change that affects finances, requesting a modification can be very beneficial in the long run. It is a good idea to speak with a divorce lawyer in Stuart, FL if you have questions about your rights and responsibilities regarding a modification of support.
We Specialize in Family Law
The legal team at The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, PA specialize in various areas of family law, including the following:
- Equitable Distribution
- Child Support
- Parenting Plans
If you and/or your spouse are considering filing for divorce, or if you have questions for an alimony attorney in Stuart, FL, then contact our team today for legal advice and help.
How The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker Can Help
If you have questions about a request for alimony, a pending divorce, or questions related to the new alimony tax law, contact the legal team at Travis R. Walker Law today.
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