My husband/wife was the breadwinner in our family. Am I entitled to alimony?
THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK IF YOU’RE CONCERNED ABOUT ALIMONY
- How long have you been married? If it is a short-term marriage (less than 7 years), alimony is presumed inappropriate. A long-term marriage (over 17 years) means there will be a presumption in favor of alimony.
- Was one spouse particularly financially dependent on the other spouse? Alimony is generally more likely when one spouse’s current need for alimony is caused by their financial dependence upon the other spouse (eg. not working) during the course of the marriage.
- What was the standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage? The Court will consider the need and ability to pay alimony of the spouse’s with the standard of living during the marriage being the measuring stick for the financially dependent parties’ need.
Alimony is spousal financial support and can be granted to either party following a divorce. It can be paid in lump sums, periodic payments, or some combination of the two, depending on the Court’s judgment.
Several factors contribute to the Court’s decision on alimony, and every case is different. The first step is universal, however, and involves the determination of any need for alimony from either spouse. If you are deemed in need of alimony, the Court will consider the length of your marriage, your accustomed standard of living, your share of marital and nonmarital assets, your Parenting Plan, income, and more.
The judge may decide you have short-term monetary needs and order Bridge-the-gap alimony payments which cannot exceed two years in length. These payments are designed to help you in your transition from married life. Rehabilitation alimony may be awarded to aid “redevelopment of previous skills” or help with additional education or training. Durational alimony is temporary and, if awarded, has a strict time period that cannot exceed the length of your marriage.
Permanent alimony may be awarded to you if the judge determines you to be in need and the other types of alimony are deemed unfair or unreasonable in some way. This type of alimony can be modified in sum or terminated if your circumstances change in a large degree.
It is difficult to determine alimony award sums without considering the different types of alimony and the factors that play into the Court’s decision. Contact Tallahassee divorce attorney Matt Liebenhaut to schedule a consultation to determine whether you may be entitled to alimony.
Matt Liebenhaut is an attorney in Tallahassee, FL practicing in the areas of divorce, child custody, SSDI, SSI, and private disability insurance law.