Alimony is a form of financial support payment made from one spouse to another during and after a divorce. This payment is designed to reduce the financial strain of a divorce on the lesser earning spouse until they can reasonably begin providing for themselves. Alimony is very discretional and can be based on various factors under the Florida statute. Specifically, a showing need and ability to pay are necessary, among other things. Please keep in mind that it is never automatic.
If you were ordered to pay alimony in Florida, how long will it last? Here’s what you need to know about when alimony payments will end.
Types of Alimony
There are typically five different types of alimony that courts consider:
Temporary alimony is designed to be awarded quickly after filing for divorce and provides financial relief for the lesser earning spouse during the pendency of pending action until the final divorce decree is signed by a judge.
Rehabilitative alimony is designed to be awarded to help assist the lesser earning spouse get back on their feet. For example, if they need to go back to school or renew a license since last working, this is a shorter form of alimony is meant to help the spouse get to a better place following a divorce.
Similar to rehabilitative, bridge the gap alimony is awarded when the lesser earning spouse needs more time to become self-sustaining and to even the playing field with respect to the spouses’ income.
Durational alimony is often awarded in moderate length marriages and is set for a specific amount of time, sometimes the same number of years of marriage, or sometimes less.
In many long term marriages, a lesser earning spouse is awarded “permanent” alimony. This is rarely truly permanent, but can last a significant duration of time. For example, a spouse may be ordered to pay permanent alimony if their spouse stayed at home for a majority of the marriage taking care of the children and never worked while the other spouse fully supported the family financially. If the healthy spouse files for divorce, it’s likely that the court will award long-term alimony.
Can You Legally Stop Paying Alimony?
Even permanent spousal support is meant to end at some point. Alimony usually ends when:
- One spouse passes away
- The lesser earning spouse remarries
- The paying spouse demonstrates clear financial hardship and cannot pay alimony (substantial change in circumstance)
- And other factors under the statute
However, it’s critical that you don’t simply stop mailing your alimony checks once one of the above occurs. A judge must formally sign off on a modification of your support order, usually after a hearing, or you could be held in contempt of court.
When to Contact a Florida Divorce Lawyer
If you’re involved in a divorce, it’s always in your best interest to work with an attorney. This becomes even more important when you’re ordered to pay alimony; protecting your rights and keeping your payments at a minimum is key. A Florida divorce attorney can help. Contact Kevyn Noonan Hayes, P.A. to learn more about alimony and spousal support or to schedule your case consultation at (239) 591-6248.