Understanding Durational Alimony In Florida
When a couple divorces, alimony may be awarded to the lower earning spouse. Alimony may be temporary, designed to help the receiving spouse transition from married life to being single. Alimony may also be permanent when a court determines that the marriage was for a long-term duration, the receiving spouse has need, and the paying spouse has the ability to pay for that need. When those forms of alimony are insufficient to meet the needs of the lower earning spouse, courts may award durational alimony.
What Factors Affect Durational Alimony?
Unlike temporary alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony and rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony typically corresponds to the length of the marriage. Durational alimony is also different from permanent alimony because it has a determined end date.
The objective of durational alimony is to assist the lower-earning spouse in maintaining the same standard of living he or she enjoyed during the marriage. Courts will analyze a number of factors when awarding durational alimony, the most important of which is the length of time a couple has been married.
The award of durational alimony is set over a predetermined period of time, and the period cannot exceed the length of the marriage. The length of a marriage is the period of time beginning from the date of the marriage until the date of the filing for divorce. The following categories are important to courts in determining which type of alimony to award:
- Short-term marriage: less than 7 years
- Moderate-term marriage: between 7 and 17 years
- Long-term marriage: more than 17 years
Durational alimony is more common among short-term and moderate-term marriages. Courts tend to award permanent alimony to spouses in long-term marriages.
Courts may consider other factors when awarding durational alimony such as:
- The divorcing couple’s standard of living
- The age of each spouse
- The physical and emotional condition of each spouse
- The earnings and education of each spouse
- The non-economic contributions of each spouse, such as homemaking and childcare
Can Durational Alimony Be Modified?
Durational alimony will continue to run its course until the court-ordered expiration date. Nevertheless, courts may modify durational alimony awards on a case-by-case basis under certain circumstances. There are three situations in which a court may allow for a modification:
- A substantial change in financial or personal circumstances
- The receiving spouse has remarried or entered into a supportive relationship.
- The paying or the receiving spouse had died
Substantial changes that warrant an alimony modification are often financial. Modifications may be allowed if the receiving spouse experiences a windfall, such as a substantial inheritance, lottery winnings, a valuable gift or a large raise. On the other hand, modifications may be granted if the paying spouse retires, experiences long-term unemployment, or exhibits an involuntary decreased ability to pay. Other factors may include chronic health issues and fraud in obtaining alimony.
In the event that the receiving spouse remarries, the paying spouse’s obligation to pay durational alimony will automatically terminate. Similarly, the paying spouse’s alimony obligation will terminate upon the death of either spouse.
Contact us Today for Assistance:
If you have questions about durational alimony and other forms of alimony, you can contact our family law attorneys at Arwani Law Firm, PLLC. We have handled complicated high conflict divorces, and we are confident that our team can provide you with the legal assistance and attention that your case requires.