January 26, 2021

The Requirements of Permanent Alimony Under Florida Law

Alimony is that familiar term referring to the financial support granted to a former spouse in a divorce. Payments are made from one spouse to another indefinitely or until the receiving party gets married. 

In most states, permanent alimony can be granted in the event that the dissolution of a marriage results in one party being less financially capable than the other. In the State of Florida, on the other hand, the court will examine the spouse’s capacity to pay alimony and weigh it against the other spouse’s need for permanent support. 

Florida family laws allow many different types of alimony. Each case’s alimony terms can vary from the other in terms of duration, amount, and purpose. This can make litigation in a divorce case far more complex than usual. Much consideration is granted in awarding alimony, so it is important to have the skills of a good divorce law firm in your corner. 

The process of determination

There is no standard amount of money or time set for alimony. These will be determined on a case-to-case basis in a court of law. It is also fully possible for the former couple to settle out of court. 

As we have mentioned before, the court will consider if the party from whom alimony is being demanded can pay. Factors outlined in Florida divorce law 61.08 will also be used in this decision. Evidence not specifically listed in the statute can also be considered by the judge.

One important facet of the statute is that the alimony award cannot leave the payor with significantly less income than the recipient unless exceptional circumstances were found by the court.

The definition of need

The second most important consideration in determining alimony is “need.” This is not defined as the minimum basic living expenses, but the amount needed to match the standard of living sustained during the marriage. In court, it must be proved that a certain standard of living was achieved, then that the payor can provide this standard of living even beyond the marriage. 

The final requirement

In general, judges grant permanent alimony in cases where the marriage has lasted a long duration—17 years or more from the date of the marriage to the date of filing for divorce. This, however, is a presumed number. The court can determine this to be inappropriate given certain circumstances. 

There are cases when the terms of Florida Statute 61.08 are considered more important than this rule. In such cases, the party hoping to supersede this 17-year presumption must be able to provide sufficient and clear evidence. If enough evidence is provided, the length of the marriage won’t matter—whether it was of moderate duration (7–17 years) or shorter. 

Final thoughts

Family law is no less complex than any other aspect of the Florida legal system. Divorce often results in complicated legal proceedings and bitter conflict, but it is nevertheless important to equip yourselves with the skills of legal professionals. This can result in fairer and more equitable decisions from the court. 

If you’re looking for a Florida divorce lawyer, give us at Dorsey Law a call. We can provide you the aggressive and expert representation to achieve the goals you need. 


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