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Spousal Support and Maintenance

Spousal support, sometimes called alimony, is payment given from one divorcing spouse to the another to assist the recipient in maintaining a lifestyle comparable to what he or she had when married. There are different types of spousal support, including:

Rehabilitative Support

This is for a limited period of time following the divorce and is intended to assist the recipient in redeveloping skills and financial independence. In order to be granted rehabilitative alimony, you must provide information about how the money will be used, such as tuition for school.

Bridge-the-Gap Support

This is also for a limited period of time and is intended to help make the transition from married to single life easier. For instance, the recipient might use the money to purchase a vehicle or find a new home.

Durational Support

This is temporary and ordered for a certain period of time, such as one year or 10 years.

Permanent Support

This includes permanent payments for a set amount of money, unless the recipient spouse remarries or either spouse dies.

Most spousal support payments are on a monthly basis, but sometimes bridge-the-gap support is paid in a lump sum. There are also some instances in which the court awards lump sum support.

How Does the Court Determine if Spousal Support is Necessary

If a couple is unable to reach an agreement on their own concerning spousal support, the court will intervene and make a decision. Florida is a no-fault state, so whether or not a spouse did something wrong isn’t really a factor in determining an award, though sometimes circumstances of adultery influence an award.

Factors that are always considered when determining spousal support include:

  • Standard of living prior to divorce
  • Length of marriage
  • Age
  • Physical and emotional health
  • Each spouse’s financial resources and income-producing capacity of their assets
  • Time needed to acquire sufficient education or training for employment
  • Services rendered in homemaking and child rearing
  • Education
  • Any other factors specific to the circumstances of a particular couple

Spouses seeking maintenance should consult with their attorneys about what seems appropriate. The court is going to assess your current employability, so even if you are highly educated and had a successful career prior to or earlier in your marriage, if you have been out of the workforce for several years at the time of your divorce, you could be entitled to support.

How Children Affect Spousal Support

Whether or not there are children in the family can also play a role in a spousal support award. Though child support and spousal support are different issues, the court will consider whether or not a spouse’s daily responsibility for his or her children affect the ability to seek employment. For instance, a man who has been a stay-at-home dad for the duration of the marriage would likely be awarded spousal support. The court would prefer he remains out of the full-time workforce to keep the child’s life as consistent as possible following the divorce.

Spousal support can be a sensitive subject during a divorce. Financial issues in general involve heightened emotion. However, issues surrounding spousal support sometimes provoke feelings of fault and blame. This can be the case even though the court does not see it this way. It’s important to work with an attorney who is familiar with the way in which the court makes decisions. You need one who is willing to defend your rights as a divorced person. They should defend you whether you are seeking support or your soon-to-be-former spouse has requested support.

Contact The Geller Family Law Firm – Spousal Support

For more information or to learn more about spousal support awards in Florida, contact The Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at (813) 405-1509 or use the online contact form.

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