Strong Legal Guidance Through The Alimony Process
Alimony is often one of the most contentious aspects of the divorce process. During the spousal support process, courts attempt to ensure that both parties maintain the same standard of living post-divorce they enjoyed during their marriage. To achieve this goal, the court sometimes orders one party to pay the other spousal support (alimony).
Since 1991, attorney Stuart N. House has fought zealously for the rights of his clients in court. At his Fort Lauderdale firm, Stuart N. House, P.A., he can help you navigate the spousal support process.
How Alimony Works In Florida
Florida’s alimony laws have changed recently. The law enacts a statute codifying what constitutes a “long-term” marriage for purposes of permanent alimony. Discrepancies existed among district courts, but the law has provided universal guidelines defining the length of marriage as follows:
- Short-term: less than seven years
- moderate-term: greater than seven but less than 17 years
- long-term: 17 years or greater
A family court judge will decide whether to award alimony (spousal maintenance) based on your divorce’s specific facts. They may include the length of your marriage, your past work experience, the health of both parties, and other factors.
For example, if one party cannot re-enter the workforce due to a lack of professional acumen or a lapse in their work experience, the court may order a spousal support arrangement that supports that party until they receive the training necessary to support themselves.
Alternatively, the court may order a party to pay less spousal support than usual if they contributed significantly financially to the marriage. For example, if one spouse supports their partner while their partner goes to medical school, the court may consider that expense and lessen that party’s alimony responsibilities.
The outcome of your alimony case may vary depending on the judge handling your case and the circumstances of your marriage. Having an experienced attorney at your side throughout the alimony process can help you receive a spousal support judgment that accurately reflects your circumstances.
Decisions Around Alimony
In Florida, a judge may choose from several different types of alimony when rendering a decision:
- Permanent alimony: Awarded with long-term marriages with sufficient need and ability to pay. It may be awarded in marriages of moderate duration, and under exceptional circumstances, even in short-term marriages.
- Bridge-the-gap alimony: Designed to help a former spouse get back on their feet after a divorce, a judge may award this in a shorter-term marriage where there has been a significant income disparity, such that one party would be relatively impoverished without temporary help.
- Durational alimony: This may be awarded in a moderate or short-term marriage where permanent, periodic alimony is inappropriate, and bridge-the-gap alimony is insufficient.
- Rehabilitative alimony: This is intended for spouses who did not undertake career advancement because they got married but who may have the ability to re-enter the workforce and substantially contribute to their support with further education or training.
While it is not common, courts may order a “lump sum alimony” under certain circumstances. Unlike child support, there are no guidelines to determine the amount of alimony. Consequently, alimony issues can be challenging to resolve without a skilled and seasoned alimony lawyer to assist you.
Enforcement And Contempt
After the court finalizes a divorce, you may find it necessary to enforce the terms of your original support or custody order. Stuart N. House, P.A., has handled cases where a spouse who should receive alimony finds that the other party has voluntarily become unemployed or under-employed to avoid paying alimony. This voluntary action is designed to deprive a party of his or her just entitlements and must be met with appropriate responsive action.
As a Fort Lauderdale alimony lawyer, Mr. House provides solutions to individuals and families facing the additional stresses of another party’s failure to comply with a court order. He aggressively works toward successful results in enforcement and contempt cases involving child support orders, visitation rights, alimony, and spousal support payments.
Get Your Alimony Questions Answered Today
Attorney House has handled hundreds of alimony cases. He was a former support enforcement prosecutor for Florida and uses that experience to fight for the results your family deserves.