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How does spousal support work in Florida?

Divorcing couples looking to determine what their post-marriage lives will look like are often concerned about how their assets will be divided and how much money will be left for them. The question of spousal support comes to mind, particularly in a high-asset divorce.

Here are a few things to know about spousal support in Florida.

What is spousal support?

Spousal support, or alimony, is a payment that may be ordered for one spouse to pay the other. Its purpose is to alleviate unfair economic situations for the lower-earning or non-wage-earning spouse.

In Florida, there are five types of alimony:

  1. Rehabilitative alimony
  2. Bridge-the-gap alimony
  3. Permanent alimony
  4. Durational alimony
  5. Lump-sum alimony

How is spousal support decided?

The court will take several factors into account when determining alimony, such as:

  • The couples’ prior standard of living
  • The length of the marriage
  • Age
  • The physical and emotional condition of both spouses
  • The financial resources of each spouse
  • The income-earning capacity of each spouse
  • The income-producing capacity of the assets each spouse receives
  • The time necessary to acquire education or training for appropriate employment
  • Services rendered by homemaking, child rearing and education and career building of the other spouse

Spouses can also agree on spousal support on their own, if the spouses agree on the terms of the divorce and can determine a payment that fits everyone’s needs. However, divorcing couples should still present that agreement to the court and make it an official part of the court’s order. This makes the agreement enforceable in the future, which is important if an ex-spouse were to suddenly stop making payments.

Can spousal support agreements be altered?

If one party’s life circumstances change, it is possible to adjust the agreement through an alimony modification.

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