How Long Will Alimony Last?

Whether you expect to pay alimony or hope to receive it, one key question in your divorce will be: How long will alimony last? This is a complex question. Your lawyer must have a full command of the facts and the law in order to give you the best chance to achieve your goals. I am attorney J. Melanie Slaughter. From my office in Ocala, help people across northern Florida take on challenging family law issues, including alimony.

What Are The Different Types Of Alimony In Florida?

Florida has different types of alimony. They include:

  • Bridge-the-gap alimony, which can be awarded to help one spouse "bridge-the-gap" from married life to single life.
  • Rehabilitative alimony, which is used to help a spouse earn the education or skills he or she needs to compete in the job market.
  • Durational alimony, which involves one spouse receiving alimony for a set period of time.
  • Permanent alimony, which is paid when one spouse will not be able to meet his or her financial needs after divorce.

Permanent alimony is rarely granted in marriages of less than seven years, and can only be granted in marriages of between seven and 17 years if one spouse can show by "clear and convincing evidence" that it is necessary. In short, if your marriage has lasted longer than 17 years, there is a higher likelihood that one spouse will pay permanent alimony. With this said, judges will look at many factors when deciding whether alimony is necessary, such as:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The couple's standard of living during the marriage
  • Each spouse's age and health
  • Each spouse's financial resources
  • Each spouse's earning capability
  • Nonfinancial contributions of each spouse
  • Each spouse's responsibilities toward minor children
  • Tax consequences of alimony
  • All sources of income

Depending on your circumstances, alimony may or may not be appropriate. I will look closely at your situation and help you understand how a judge is likely to consider your case.

Florida Alimony Laws Are Not Changing — For Now

In April 2016, Governor Rick Scott vetoed a bill in the Florida legislature that would have basically ended permanent alimony and dramatically changed Florida's child support laws. Governor Scott also vetoed a version of this bill in 2013. Given the contentious nature of this topic, it would not be surprising to see the legislature again attempt to change alimony and child support laws.

I Am Ready To Answer Your Questions About Alimony

Call 352-414-5945 or complete my online contact form to set up a consultation.