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How Long Are Alimony Awards?

Historically, the law in Florida and most states has viewed spousal support quite differently from child support. Child support is based on a guidelines formula. Spousal support, however, allows significant discretion.

Legislation to reform and streamline Florida alimony laws has been widely discussed for many years. It may be only a matter of time before permanent alimony awards are no longer available. At Meador & Johnson, P.A., we closely follow any updates to the law. We can explain how a potential change could affect your personal situation.

How Is Alimony Calculated?

In divorce cases with alimony disputes, the court will consider many factors to determine whether alimony is necessary. These factors include:

  • The need for support and ability of the other spouse to pay
  • Length of the marriage
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The age of the parties
  • The work and educational history of the spouses
  • Each spouse's contributions to the marriage
  • Employment prospects

A judge must account for overall fairness in each alimony determination. If the court awards alimony, it may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, lump sum or permanent alimony depending upon the facts of your case.

When Is Alimony Allowed — And For How Long?

Sometimes a former spouse will need alimony for only a short time to go back to school or while taking other steps to get fully back into the workforce. This is typically called rehabilitative alimony. There is also "bridge-the-gap" alimony, which cannot exceed two years, and alimony for a set duration, which cannot exceed the length of the marriage.

Permanent alimony is typically available in marriages of 17 or more years when one spouse lacks the ability to become self-supporting due to physical limitations, lack of education or training, or other circumstances. In many of these marriages, one spouse — often the wife — may have foregone career opportunities to raise children. Permanent alimony cases can be a contentious issue, and having a strong advocate on your side can make all the difference.

Ensure A Fair Award

Whether you expect to receive spousal support or you are concerned about paying more than your fair share, we can ensure that your rights are protected and your voice is heard. If you live anywhere from the Gulf Coast to the Emerald Coast of Florida, our lawyers will be compassionate advocates for you and will fight aggressively when needed.

Schedule a consultation by calling 850-483-0773 or 800-785-4969. An appointment can also be set up online by sending us a short summary of your issue.