How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Alimony?

November 14th • 7 min read

If you are going through a divorce, there are a number of important factors that need to be decided. One of the most important factors is alimony. Alimony refers to payments that one party makes to another following the dissolution of marriage. Importantly, alimony payments are not the same as child support.

Alimony payments are payments that are designed to support the other spouse, while child support payments are designed to cover the costs associated with raising a child. How long do you need to be married to get alimony in Florida? There is no specific length of time, but there are a number of factors that the court will consider.

Determining Alimony in Florida

Importantly, not every divorce is going to lead to alimony payments. Then, there are some situations where the wife may pay the husband alimony, and there are other situations where the husband might make alimony payments to the wife.

Before deciding whether there will be alimony payments, and how large those payments might be, the court is going to consider a number of factors. They include:

  • Standard of Living During Marriage: If the court believes that one spouse’s standard of living will suffer significantly following the dissolution of marriage, the court may order the other spouse to pay alimony payments. The goal is to help each spouse maintain the same standard of living that he or she enjoyed during the marriage. While this is not always perfect, the court will make an effort to do so.
  • Length of Marriage: The length of the marriage will also determine whether there will be alimony payments, as well as how large they might be. The longer the marriage lasts, the more likely there will be alimony payments.
  • Financial Resources: The court will also consider the financial resources of each spouse. Even if one spouse should make alimony payments, he or she cannot make alimony payments without any money. The court will consider the financial resources of both parties before deciding whether alimony payments are warranted.
  • Earning Capacities: If one spouse has the capacity to earn a significant amount of money but the other spouse does not, the court may order the spouse with more earning potential to make alimony payments that will support the other spouse. This is not universal, but it is a possibility.
  • Vocational Training: There are some situations where one spouse may have to go back to school to learn the skills required to support himself or herself. The court may require the other spouse to make alimony payments to support that person as he or she goes back to school.

These are just a few of the most important factors that the court will consider before deciding whether alimony payments are needed.

Types of Alimony Payments

Next, it is important to cover several types of alimony payments. The length of the marriage will play a role in the type of alimony that is awarded. Some of the possible types of alimony in Florida include:

Permanent Alimony

This is one of the most common types of alimony awarded in Florida, and it is heavily dependent on the length of a marriage. In order to qualify for permanent alimony, most marriages need to last 17 years. If the couple has been married for 17 years, permanent alimony could be granted.

If the couple has been married between 7 and 17 years, permanent alimony could still be awarded; however, this is highly unusual. For marriages lasting less than seven years, permanent alimony is never given.

Durational Alimony

If the couple has not been married 17 years, the State of Florida may decide durational alimony is appropriate. Durational alimony is similar to permanent alimony in that both types of alimony strive to keep each spouse at the same standard of living as they were before the divorce took place. Importantly, durational alimony cannot be awarded for an amount of time that is longer than the length of the marriage.

For example, if a couple has been married 10 years, then durational alimony cannot be granted for any longer than 10 years. It is frequently awarded in short-term and medium-term marriages.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Another type of alimony that can be awarded for short and medium marriages is called rehabilitative alimony. This is a type of alimony that is awarded to help the other spouse get back on his or her feet.

For example, if one spouse needs to go back to school to finish a degree, alimony payments can be given until the spouse finishes school. This is particularly useful if one spouse needs to learn new skills that are helpful in the modern workforce.

Temporary Alimony

Finally, there are other situations where the judge may decide to award temporary alimony. This type of alimony is commonly awarded when one spouse makes the vast majority of the money. Going through a divorce can be expensive, and temporary alimony is designed to help the other spouse cover financial expenses related to the divorce.

This type of alimony always ends once the divorce has been finalized. Once the divorce is finalized, the judge will decide whether a different type of alimony should be awarded to replace temporary alimony.

Changing Alimony Payments

There are some situations where alimony needs to be changed or terminated. For example, if the other spouse passes away, then the alimony payments should stop. Furthermore, if the spouse receiving alimony payments gets remarried, the judge may decide to stop alimony payments from the prior spouse. It is important for anyone looking to change alimony payments to rely on a lawyer who has experience in this area.

Count On Ross and Andreassi for Help With Divorce Cases and Alimony Payments in Florida

If you are going through a divorce, it is important for you to work with a lawyer who can advocate for your rights. Even if you and your spouse agree on everything, it is still important to work with a lawyer who can help you overcome unanticipated obstacles. That is where we can help you.

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At Ross & Andreassi, we have a tremendous amount of experience working with a wide variety of couples going through different situations. Regardless of whether you are going through a divorce or looking for help with changing alimony payments, our professionals can help you. We will analyze every detail closely because we understand that the stakes are high. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to make an appointment. It would be our honor to assist you.