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How Do I Collect Alimony in Florida?

Get What’s Yours: Navigate Alimony Collection

Are you curious about the tangled web of collecting alimony in Florida? Alimony, a crucial aspect of divorce settlements, can often be perplexing and emotionally charged. With laws evolving and circumstances varying, explaining the process becomes necessary. 

Whether you’re contemplating divorce or amid proceedings, grasping the fundamentals of alimony collection is indispensable. 

Quick Summary: 

  • Alimony, or spousal support, is money one spouse pays the other after a divorce to help them maintain their lifestyle. It is meant to make sure the spouse with less money can still live comfortably, and it can also help them find a job or get more education.
  • Alimony in Florida comes in various types, like temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent alimony. Each serves different purposes based on the length of marriage and individual needs.
  • To collect alimony in Florida, you must prove financial need and the other spouse’s ability to pay. You can request it by filing a petition with the court, including evidence, or by agreeing on it directly with your spouse to avoid court.
  • In a contested alimony hearing, you must provide evidence about your lifestyle during the marriage, financial resources, earning potential, contributions to the marriage, child responsibilities, taxes, income, and any other relevant factors the court considers. This evidence helps the judge decide on the details of the alimony arrangement.
  • The court considers various factors when deciding on alimony, such as your lifestyle during the marriage, the length of the marriage, your health, finances, education, contributions to the marriage, and needs for job training.

What is Alimony?

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is essentially court-ordered financial assistance from one spouse to the other, typically following a divorce (although it can be granted even if the marriage isn’t dissolved). 

For instance, if a couple separates and one spouse earns a high income while the other stays home to care for the children, the court may decide that the higher-earning spouse must provide alimony to the other.

The main goal of alimony is to ensure that the spouse with a lower income can maintain a similar standard of living as during the marriage after the divorce. However, it can also cover other needs, like giving the lower-earning spouse time to find a job or supporting them while they pursue education or training opportunities.

What are the Types of Alimony in Florida?

Alimony, also called maintenance payments, isn’t meant to punish anyone. Instead, they recognize that one spouse might have more money and abilities to support themselves in the future. Alimony helps make things fair. How long a couple was married is crucial in deciding alimony. Marriages are labeled as: 

  • Short-Term: A marriage that lasted less than seven years
  • Moderate-Term: A marriage that lasts seven or more years, but fewer than 17 years
  • Long-Term: A marriage that lasts 17 or more years

There are also types of alimony intended for different purposes:

Temporary Alimony

This alimony, also called alimony pendent lite, is given during divorce. It stops when the divorce is finalized and might be replaced by another kind of alimony.

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony

This is transitional alimony. It is meant to assist a spouse in transitioning from being married to being single by providing money for expected bills related to starting a new life alone.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Sometimes, a spouse might need to attend school or get special training to find a job that pays enough to support themselves. When a court orders rehabilitative alimony, it must include a specific plan. For example, someone who likes working with horses might decide to become a farrier. 

The plan would say how long the training will take, how much it will cost, how long they need to work as an apprentice, and when they expect to be able to support themselves. If things change or the spouse doesn’t follow the plan, the one getting alimony or the one paying it can ask the court to change the order.

Durational Alimony

This type of alimony is often given in short or moderate-length marriages when other kinds of alimony don’t fit. It’s a fixed amount paid over a set period, not longer than the marriage lasted. 

So, if a couple was married for two years, the durational alimony won’t last more than two years. Either spouse can ask for changes if things change a lot, but any changes will affect how much is paid, not how long it lasts.

Permanent Alimony

This alimony is typically given in moderate and long-term marriages and only in short-term marriages if something unusual happens. Permanent alimony is for a spouse who can’t keep up the lifestyle they had during the marriage. It’s a bit tricky because the court looks at what the couple had during the marriage and decides what’s fair. 

For example, if someone had lots of help and nice things during the marriage, they might get enough money to keep up a similar lifestyle after the divorce. If things change a lot later on, like if the person getting alimony starts getting help from someone they’re not related to, the court might change the alimony amount.

Bridge-the-gap, durational, and permanent alimony stop if either the person paying or receiving it dies. If the person getting alimony gets married again, the payments also stop. But this rule doesn’t apply to rehabilitative alimony.

How Do I Collect Alimony in Florida?

There’s no guaranteed right to alimony in a Florida divorce, but it can be granted if there’s a big financial difference between the spouses. According to Florida’s alimony law, a judge will first check if one spouse needs support and if the other can pay it. If both are true, then the judge decides how much and what kind of alimony.

If you think you need alimony, you might wonder how to ask for it since it’s not automatic. There are two main ways to talk about spousal support in a divorce: filing a request or through an agreement. 

Filing a Petition to Request Alimony

If you meet the legal requirements for needing alimony and being able to pay for it, here’s how you can ask for support:

  • You submit a request to the court. It should include all the details and evidence explaining why you need alimony. That is also necessary if you’re asking for temporary alimony.
  • Your ex might get a chance to respond in writing. They can give reasons and evidence why they think alimony shouldn’t be given.
  • The court will set a date for a hearing where both sides can argue their case. It’s like a trial. Each person presents their evidence and talks to the judge, who then decides what to do.

Request Alimony by Agreement

Most divorce matters get settled between the spouses, and spousal support can be one of them. Talking about alimony in your agreement saves time and money on legal fees because you avoid going to court. 

It also gives you a clear idea of what to expect instead of risking the court saying no. You also get to decide on things, like how much to pay, what kind of alimony, and if it’s a one-time payment.

What Evidence Do I Need in a Contested Hearing?

When you ask for alimony, and the judge agrees it’s needed, they look at specific factors to figure out the details. You’ll need evidence about:

  • How you live during the marriage
  • Money and assets each person has, including what was divided in the divorce
  • How much money both of you could make and what kind of jobs you could get
  • What does each person do to help during the marriage
  • Who’s responsible for taking care of the kids
  • Taxes
  • All the money you have coming in
  • Anything else the court thinks is important

What Factors Can Affect the Awarding of Alimony?

The court will consider financial matters when setting alimony, including:

  • How you both lived during the marriage
  • How long have you been married
  • Your age and any health issues that might affect how much money you can make
  • Your money situation, including what you own and owe from the marriage and any debt you took on together
  • If one of you needs more education or training to get a job
  • What each of you do to help during the marriage, both with money and other things

Alimony helps one person get back on track. It’s not about punishing anyone, but Florida judges can think about things like cheating when deciding if alimony should be given and how much. 

The main goal of alimony is to help one person continue living like they did during the marriage. Looking at it like this helps the one who needs support explain why they should get it.

Your Trusted Legal Partner in Alimony Collection

The complexities of alimony collection in Florida can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. At Figueroa Law Group, we understand its emotional and legal challenges. Our trusted team of family law attorneys is here to offer compassionate support and legal guidance every step of the way.

If you’re struggling to collect alimony in Florida or have questions about your rights and options, don’t hesitate to contact us. With our extensive experience and commitment to our client’s well-being, we’ll work tirelessly to advocate for your interests and help you achieve a fair resolution. 

Contact Figueroa Law Group today and let us help you navigate this difficult time with confidence and peace of mind. Our law firm can also assist you with Estate Planning and Probate.

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