UNDERSTANDING ALIMONY AND ITS FUTURE IN FLORIDA
A piece of history: As most of us are aware, women traditionally stayed home to care for the home and family, while their husbands worked outside the home. When a divorce occurred, it was most likely as a result of the husband’s infidelity (historically speaking). It was difficult, if not impossible in some cultures, for the wife (divorcee) to acquire a job that would sustain her and the children. Alimony was established to compensate for the change in household economics and included long-term financial compensation to the wife. If the wife was the cause of the divorce, her actions caused her right to alimony to be forfeited.
Since the 1970’s and, more specifically, the last few years, alimony has been completely restructured. The reasons for the changes are most attributed to women working outside the home, better paying jobs available to women and “no-fault” divorces.
Currently, both men and women are eligible for alimony depending on the circumstances of the case, custody arrangements, salaries of the husband vs. the wife, etc. The length of the marriage is also a huge factor in determining alimony and rarely is the alimony long-term as it once was in the United States.
TYPES OF ALIMONY
BRIDGE THE GAP ALIMONY
Short term alimony (Usually less than 2 years). This type is established to help in the transition of married to single life (single income).
Short term alimony not limited to two years, but rather based on a specific budgeted plan. This type is provided for the non-working spouse or the spouse who makes less income while they go back to school or take other necessary steps to become financially independent.
Alimony that is necessary, but doesn’t fit either of the above categories. It is also considered short term and usually limited to the length of the marriage (7-17 years).
Alimony typically given only to marriages over 17 years in length. This type of alimony is rare and only used when documented extreme circumstances are present based upon three certain but not exclusive factors; length of marriage, ability to pay and need for support.
FUTURE FOR ALIMONY
The laws regarding alimony are always undergoing change. Currently trends are having a significant impact on such things as abolishing permanent alimony, limiting longevity of alimony at 50% of length of marriage (Durational Alimony), determining amount of alimony payments by using a formula established by the courts, eliminating the ability to base alimony on current living standards (i.e. Current house mortgage, car payment(s), insurance, etc.) and many other changes. In order to determine if you qualify for alimony, please make sure you speak with an attorney.
Few situations in life can cause as much stress as a Divorce. Our clients often come to us confused, scared, angry, hurt and overwhelmed by the whole situation. At the Law Office of Pamela J. Helton, P.A., we understand and we’re here to help. All of our attorneys are experienced, knowledgeable and ready to fight for you. The first step is to consult with an attorney (or attorneys) and hire someone you trust to fight for you based upon their experience and legal knowledge. If you would like to consult with an attorney from the Law Office of Pamela J Helton, please call(352) 243-9991to schedule your initial consult today.
In the meantime, I recommend that you read the information below and familiarize yourself with legal terminology and the general or “typical” divorce process. Educating clients beforehand on terminology and the "typical" process involved has been very effective at reducing some of the unnecessary stress factors. Please read below and feel free to continue educating yourself as your case unfolds