The Five Types of Alimony in St. Lucie County
Many states have amended their spousal support laws, making alimony more like child support. For example, in Illinois, a formula which considers the length of the marriage and the incomes of both spouses usually determines the amount and duration of payments. But Florida law is still quite subjective, especially regarding the duration of payments.
Amount determinations are rather subjective as well. Generally, the judge looks at a number of factors to determine the obligee’s economic need and the obligor’s ability to pay. The goal of spousal support is generally, but not always, to make the obligee economically self-sufficient.
So, in alimony determination and modification matters, both obligor and obligees have legal and financial rights. An experienced Port St. Lucie family law attorney stands up for these rights, both during court hearings and during pretrial settlement negotiations.
Particularly if the obligee was the respondent and did not anticipate the divorce, judges often order temporary alimony payments. If the obligee was the petitioner and could have financially prepared for the divorce, the dynamic is often different.
Temporary alimony helps obligees meet immediate, divorce-related expenses. Examples include attorneys’ fees, rental deposits, and daycare costs.
Generally, judges set temporary alimony payments at the temporary hearing, which usually occurs about two weeks after the petitioner files paperwork. So, early and forceful representation is essential for both obligors and obligees. Otherwise, the temporary alimony award might be too small or too large. And, it is not easy to modify these payments unless financial circumstances radically change.
Florida is one of the only states where bridge-the-gap alimony is available. These payments are essentially extended temporary payments. Bridge-the-gap spousal support lasts a maximum two years.
Radically changed financial circumstances are not the only thing that might prompt alimony modification. All forms of spousal support terminate if the obligee legally remarries or starts a long-term, financially-supportive romantic relationship with another person.
These spousal support payments are probably the most common alimony awards in St. Lucie County. Frequently, the obligee can achieve self-sufficiency, but it will take more than two years to reach that point. Many people must finish or obtain college degrees or professional certificates. Or, they must accept low-paying jobs to re-enter the workforce.
In addition to the aforementioned financial and emotional changes, the obligee’s failure to follow a written rehabilitation plan could also justify a spousal support change.
At this point, alimony crosses the line between a push toward self-sufficiency and a permanent, or at least long term, redistribution of income. So, factors like the standard of living during the marriage and the length of the relationship are often paramount in these situations.
By law, durational alimony is capped at the number of years of the marriage. So, if the marriage lasted fifteen years, durational alimony can last a maximum fifteen years.
If the obligee has a mental, physical, or other disability which makes self-sufficiency impossible, the court might award permanent alimony. The same thing could happen if the obligee has custody of a severely disabled child who will require lifetime care. Unless extreme circumstances like these are present, judges almost never award permanent alimony.
Rely on an Experienced Lawyer
Florida’s spousal support laws and procedures are quite complex. For a free consultation with an experienced Port St. Lucie divorce lawyer, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.