What Is The Connection Between Length Of A Marriage And Florida Alimony Laws?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Clients often ask me how much alimony they are going to have to pay, or in other cases, how much alimony they are going to get.  Unlike child support awards, which is a statutory calculation based upon the combined net monthly incomes of the husband and the wife, alimony awards are determined by the circumstances of the marriage and are given under the law but at the discretion of the sitting judge.

One of the key factors in any alimony award if you are the recipient, or obligation if you are the payor, is the length of the marriage.  The State of  Florida breaks it down into three categories: short term marriages, long term marriages and grey area or middle ground marriages.  In short term marriages, usually 0 to 8 years, alimony awards are highly scrutinized by the court.  In grey area marriages, 8 years long to 17 years long, alimony is most often awarded if there is a disparity of incomes, and a spouse can prove his/her need and the ability of the other spouse to pay.  In long term marriages of 17 years of more, alimony is based upon need and ability to pay and could be a permanent situation.  There are about 30 statutory factors that a judge MAY consider in any ruling awarding alimony:  things like age and health of both parties, education level of the party requesting the alimony, marketable skills set, ability to earn a living, and many others. 

There was a recent challenge to the alimony laws in the State of Florida, but it was vetoed lst year by Florida Governor Rick Scott.  As it stands now, there are several types of alimony which may be awarded: short term or bridge the gap alimony, durational alimony which cannot be for longer than the marriage was, rehabilitative alimony to send a spouse back to school or train for a self supporting career,  and permanent alimony which is lifetime.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.famiilylawwpb.com for more information.