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The Status Of Alimony Law In Florida


Since the 1940s, the alimony tax rules have been one of the few constants in Florida divorce cases. Under existing guidelines, spousal support payments are tax-deductible and obligee spouses must report these payments as income. At the end of 2018, both these rules change. Alimony payments will no longer be tax-deductible and recipients will no longer pay taxes on the money.

These changes may have a dramatic effect on the amount of payments. For example, if Wife needs $1,000, Husband must theoretically pay about $1,300 under the current system. The extra money accounts for the taxes Wife must remit. So, the method of calculation may need to be entirely recalculated.

The Different Types of Alimony in Port St. Lucie

Despite these changes, the underlying law regarding spousal support in Florida is mostly unchanged. The intent of the law is much the same as well. For the most part, obligor spouses pay alimony to help obligee spouses become self-supporting. This intent is reflected in the different types of alimony available in Port St. Lucie:

  • Temporary Support: Alimony pendente lite (while the case is pending) gives the obligee spouse money to meet unexpected expenses, such as attorneys’ fees and property deposits. Temporary alimony in Florida automatically terminates when the judge signs the divorce decree.
  • Bridge-the-Gap: In the two years immediately following the divorce, some obligees need money to finish a degree or to supplement their entry-level wages. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to provide these financial resources.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: If these needs persist longer than two years, additional support is available. However, to obtain these funds, the obligee spouse must file a written plan of rehabilitation, the judge must approve it, and the obligee spouse must adhere to it.
  • Durational Alimony: This type of alimony is the next step up and is more of an income redistribution vehicle than a financial assistance vehicle. Durational alimony payments in Port St. Lucie are capped at the length of the marriage (g. fifteen years of alimony for a fifteen-year marriage).
  • Permanent Alimony: If the obligee spouse completely lacks the ability to become self-sufficient, perhaps due to a serious physical or mental disability, the judge will award permanent payments.

Bridge-the-gap alimony cannot be modified in most cases, but other forms of alimony can be modified based on changed financial circumstances. Additionally, a party can modify rehabilitative alimony based on a failure to follow the rehabilitation plan.

Some Factors in Determining Port St. Lucie Alimony

Florida judges have considerable discretion when setting the amount and duration of payments. Some of the factors they must use in this process include:

  • Noneconomic contributions to the marriage (the “homemaker” factor),
  • All financial resources, including nonmarital property, available to each spouse,
  • Fault in the breakup of the marriage, especially if that fault economically harmed the other spouse (g. Husband bought expensive gifts for a girlfriend)
  • Economic prospects for each spouse given age, health, educational background, and other factors,
  • Length of the marriage,
  • Agreements between the spouses, and
  • Standard of living during the marriage.

The length of the marriage is especially important in permanent alimony cases. If the couple was married longer than 17 years, the judge may award permanent alimony if it’s appropriate. For a 7 to 17-year marriage, there must be clear and convincing evidence. It’s almost impossible to obtain permanent alimony after a shorter marriage.

Join With Experienced Lawyers

Alimony is a part of most Florida divorces. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.


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