Pursuing a Claim for Permanent Alimony
The contentious nature of divorce is often driven by the issues of property distribution and alimony. Especially in situations where the spouses are uncooperative, discussions about granting alimony and the determination of an amount can lead to heated disagreements.
Under Florida law, spousal support is the financial maintenance that one individual pays to their ex-spouse after the marriage is dissolved. The court may also grant temporary support while the divorce is pending. Alimony generally serves two purposes. For younger couples, alimony is meant to rehabilitate a spouse who may need time to establish financial stability. For mature couples, alimony payments help to ensure the continuous well-being of one spouse for an indefinite period of time.
The two basic requirements for alimony are that one spouse needs it and the other spouse possesses the ability to pay it. Though these requirements may seem simple, the interpretation of need and ability can vary greatly.
When determining whether to grant alimony, the courts look at a number of factors including:
- The duration of the marriage – Longer marriages are more likely to receive consideration for alimony than newer marriages;
- – Age and health of each spouse – These factors help the court determine whether each spouse has the physical ability to work; and
- – Financial resources of each spouse – If one party owns substantially more resources than another party, the court may order the more financially stable party to pay the lesser stable party.
When determining how much alimony to grant, the court looks at the following factors:
- – The contributions that each spouse made to the household during the marriage – This is not limited to financial contributions. Child rearing, housekeeping and assistance with career building are all considered in this determination; and
- – Each spouse’s earning capacity – If the receiving spouse possesses the potential to make significant earnings, the court will likely award a more limited support amount.
It is important to note that the point of spousal maintenance is to provide the most equitable split possible, but keep in mind that equitable does not mean equal; it means fair. The spouse with more money may still have more money after alimony is granted, but the receiving spouse should be adequately supported or, at least on a road to self-sufficiency.
Making a Case for Permanent Alimony
If you are seeking a permanent alimony award from the court, you must prove that no other form of spousal support is appropriate for your situation. These include:
- – Bridge-the-gap alimony, which only lasts for two years;
- – Rehabilitative alimony, which is meant to be temporary until the receiving spouse gains adequate employment; and
- – Durational alimony, which lasts solely for a time frame that is equal to the length of the marriage.
Due to the lengthy responsibility placed on the paying spouse, the court wants to ensure that no other option would provide a fair and reasonable alternative. You must also prove that you lack the employment ability to ever become financially self-sufficient and present evidence to the court regarding your standard of living during the marriage.
Presenting the necessary evidence for permanent alimony can prove challenging. Contact the attorneys of Vanessa L. Prieto, LLC for assistance with your spousal support claim. Located in Fort Lauderdale, our office serves Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. Call the office today to schedule an appointment.