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Some Alimony Basics In Port St. Lucie


Believe it or not, New Year’s Day 2019 is just around the corner. On that day, a radical new tax law change goes into effect. Alimony payments will no longer be tax-reportable to obligees and tax-deductible for obligors. Opinions are divided as to whether this change will help or hurt women.

Since about 2015, several other alimony reform efforts have failed in Florida. These pushes would have substantially rewritten the state’s spousal support laws which apply in divorce and other family law cases. So, the basic spousal maintenance structure remains in effect in the Sunshine State, at least for the foreseeable future.

Determining the Length of Alimony in Port St. Lucie

In terms of this inquiry, the nature of the requesting spouse’s economic need is the most important overall factor. So, Florida law provides for several different types of alimony.

  • Temporary: While the case is pending (pendente lite in Latin), many spouses have unexpected economic needs. These needs include things like attorneys’ fees, rental deposits, and household expenses. So, a Florida judge may order temporary alimony. This type of alimony automatically terminates when the case is resolved.
  • Bridge-the-Gap: Sometimes, these kinds of needs linger after the divorce is finalized. For example, a spouse may need to take a low-paying job to re-enter the workforce. Bridge-the-gap alimony provides additional funds for up to two years after the case is over.
  • Rehabilitative: Bridge-the-gap alimony is for spouses who need a jump start. Rehabilitative alimony, on the other hand, is for spouses who are starting over. Some people are able to become economically self-sufficient, but they need some assistance to reach that point. That assistance could be something like going back to school. If the obligee files a written rehabilitation plan and adheres to it, the other spouse must sometimes fund this plan.
  • Durational: This is the first kind of alimony that is income-redistributing. When most people think of “alimony,” they are probably thinking about durational spousal support. By law, durational alimony payments may not exceed the length of the marriage.
  • Permanent: Some spouses have a physical or mental disability, or they have custody of a seriously disabled child. These spouses may never reach economic self-sufficiency. So, as long as there is enough evidence in the record, a judge may order permanent alimony.

Most kinds of alimony can be modified based on a substantial change of circumstances. That may or may not include things like retirement or a long-term dating relationship which is tantamount to marriage.

Amount of Maintenance Payments in Florida

A few of the factors in this area pertain to the obligee spouse’s economic need. But most of them relate to the obligor’s ability to pay, at least for the most part. Some common factors include:

  • Contributions to the Marriage: In this context, both economic and noneconomic contributions merit equal consideration. Economic contributions are rather easy to determine. Noneconomic contributions are a bit more subjective. Sometimes, the “homemaker factor” is quite strong and sometimes it is almost nonexistent.
  • Agreements Between the Parties: Most Florida judges uphold spousal agreements as long as they are voluntary and not blatantly one-sided. That includes radical caps on spousal support payments.
  • Tax Consequences: Right now, this factor is quite significant. But after January 2019, it may become utterly inconsequential.

Other relevant factors include the overall property distribution, the length of the marriage, and any other factor the judge considers relevant.

Connect With Experienced Lawyers

Spousal support payments are usually an important component of a Florida divorce settlement. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle cases all along the Treasure Coast area.



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