West Palm Beach Spousal Support and Alimony Lawyer
Spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, is a Court-Ordered obligation to pay a current or former spouse during or after a divorce. Spousal support originated during a time when one spouse tended to be the primary or sole income-earner, such that if the parties divorced the lower-earner or homemaker would be left with no source of funds. Although two-income families are now much more common, spousal support still exists in order to ensure that the parties can financially survive, neither party is left destitute or in need of government assistance following divorce.
If you are facing divorce in Florida and want to protect your financial security, call a seasoned spousal support attorney at the Law Office of Scott Glassman, P.A. With our more than six combined decades of litigation experience, we are ready to help you get the spousal support you are owed in your divorce or protect your finances against an overly aggressive support order draining your income.
Types of Spousal Support
In Florida, alimony is meant to serve a particular purpose; it is not the default state of affairs and is not necessarily meant to be permanent. There are five general types of alimony in Florida: temporary; bridge-the-gap; rehabilitative; durational; and permanent. The different types of alimony are meant to respond to different types of familial circumstances, and within each type the amount and duration can be negotiated between the parties or decided by the Court.
The types of alimony available in Florida operate as follows:
- Temporary. Temporary alimony is meant to help the lower-earning spouse during the divorce proceeding. The requesting spouse must show a need for temporary alimony in order to remain financially stable while the divorce proceeds; once the divorce is finalized, temporary alimony ends.
- Bridge-the-gap. This type of alimony is meant to be short-term, helping a lower-income spouse make the transition from married to single. It might last until, for example, the recipient can sell the family home or get training and a new job.
- Rehabilitative. Rehabilitative alimony is also possible. It is meant to support the lower-income spouse while they obtain the training, education, skills, and other elements necessary to become self-supporting. The parties will likely need to establish a particular rehabilitative plan for the Court to review (e.g., alimony that will last until the recipient gets additional education or obtains a certain level of employment).
- Durational. Durational alimony can sometimes be awarded for a period. Durational alimony may not last longer than the duration of the marriage (e.g., a 10-year marriage cannot result in a 15-year alimony award, under normal circumstances.)
- Permanent. Permanent periodic alimony is frequently awarded in long term marriage when the recipient has a need and the paying spouse has the ability to pay. The Court will strongly consider the length of the marriage before ordering permanent alimony.
Who Gets Spousal Support?
In Florida, either spouse may request alimony. If the parties do not agree to an alimony award, the Court will evaluate the needs of the requesting spouse, the capacity of the other spouse to pay, and other factors. When establishing alimony, the Court will consider a list of factors including:
- Each spouse’s financial circumstances and income
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- Each spouse’s health
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
- Each spouse’s earning capacity, including education, skills, employability, and ability to pursue further training and education
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s responsibility for minor children
- Tax consequences
- Other relevant factors
Enforcing Spousal Support: Spousal Support and Child Custody are Separate
If your spouse is refusing to pay the alimony that they owe, you have the right to seek enforcement of their legal obligations. You can seek a Court order requiring them to pay and, if they continue to refuse payment without proper justification to the Court, you might be able to have them held in contempt. A contempt order can subject them to penalties including community service, a purge payment, fines and potential jail time. The Court may issue an Order withholding the support from their wages, which requires their employer to send a portion of their paycheck directly to the support depository, preventing them from continuing to hold out.
It is important, however, to go through the proper channels. You are bound by the Court’s orders just as they are. You cannot, for example, withhold their visitation rights until they pay the support they owe. Doing so can put you in legal hot water, affecting your legal rights and putting you at risk of similar penalties. If your ex is not paying what they owe, talk to your family law attorney about how to enforce their support obligations.
Seasoned Advice and Representation from a Talented Florida Spousal Support Lawyer
If you are dealing with spousal support issues in Florida, you need a passionate spousal support and alimony lawyer on your side. The zealous Florida spousal support and alimony attorneys at the Law Office of Scott Glassman, P.A. have more than 60 years of combined experience helping Florida family law clients get the results they deserve. For help fighting for your rights, your finances, and your family in Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, or statewide, call the Law Office of Scott Glassman, P.A. at 561-688-5006 today!