In spite of the fact that alimony (spousal support) is by no means as common a part of divorce agreements as it once was, there are five types of alimony available in the state of Florida, each designed to meet a particular set of circumstances. The one we will be discussing here is durational alimony. 

If alimony is an issue in your divorce, contact the well-respected lawyers at Orlando Family Team now. We will clarify all aspects of durational alimony and determine whether it is the right type of alimony in your case. More than that, once you become our client, we will provide you with the first-rate legal representation you need and deserve so that you begin the new stage of your life with an appropriate financial foundation.

What is durational alimony?

Durational alimony, like other types of alimony, is designed to meet the economic needs of the receiving spouse. In durational alimony, financial assistance is awarded for a predetermined period of time. Several types of alimony are intended to give the spouse with a lower income (or no income at all), a resource to tide them over until they become financially independent. Although both bridge-the-gap and rehabilitative alimony can also serve this purpose, durational alimony is conceived as a longer type of spousal maintenance.

The reason one spouse may need alimony is that they may have been the partner who made sacrifices for the benefit of the marriage. For example, even now in a society in which most families have two working spouses, many spouses agree to assume the bulk of household duties and childcare responsibilities to enable the other spouse to move ahead in their education or career path. In some cases, one spouse may work as a single-wage earner so that the other spouse is free, for example, to attend medical school.

In any case, the courts recognize that this type of sacrifice should be rewarded if there is a divorce, since the sacrificing spouse may have lost time and earning capacity and should now be entitled to a chance to “catch up” in order to have a stable economic future.

In Florida, a short-term marriage is a marriage lasting fewer than seven years and a moderate-term marriage is a marriage lasting between 7 and 17 years. A marriage lasting longer than 17 years is considered a long-term marriage. Durational alimony is only awarded in short-term or moderate-term marriages. Though designed to assist the receiving spouse for a relatively long period, durational alimony is capped at the number of years the marriage lasted.  

Is durational alimony a realistic option in your case?

Florida courts calculate durational alimony on a case-to-case basis by examining various pieces of information related to the incomes, assets, expenses, and debts of each individual once the marital assets have been divided. 

It is only if one spouse comes up short in terms of the ability to be self-supporting in a style comparable to their shared lifestyle during the marriage that the court will view alimony as a reasonable option. The court will also, of course, take into account the ability of the other spouse to pay alimony and still be able to be self-supporting and support their children. 

Factors Florida Courts Consider When Granting and Calculating Alimony

When determining whether or not alimony will be granted in a divorce, the court has to consider a number of relevant factors, including: 

  • Each party’s financial resources, need for alimony, and ability to pay alimony

as assessed by marital and individual assets, debts, access to external financial support

  • Each party’s educational level, earning capacity
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage 
  • The age and physical and emotional condition of each spouse
  • Each party’s contribution to the marriage (i.e. homemaking, childcare)
  • Which type of alimony is appropriate in this case
  • Whether either spouse committed adultery — if so, the court will likely assume that marital assets will have been spent on sustaining the affair and that jointly-owned resources may have been concealed or wasted on adulterous rendezvous

Can Durational Alimony Be Modified or Terminated?

Under normal circumstances, once durational alimony is stipulated as part of the divorce agreement, it will remain in force until the specified date. Exceptions can be made, however, if:

  • The paying party becomes incapacitated
  • Either party comes into substantial money (e.g. an inheritance, a legal settlement)
  • The receiving party moves into the home of a romantic partner or remarries
  • Either party dies

Contact Our Experienced Durational Alimony Attorneys for Advice and Advocacy Now

Whether you are seeking durational alimony or another type of spousal support during a divorce, or feeling that you are being unfairly asked to pay for a spouse who is self-sufficient, this is the time to get in touch with our durational alimony attorneys. Contact us now for objective information and forceful legal representation.