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When can alimony be awarded under Florida law?

As discussed in this blog last week, the outcome of a case can change drastically based on seemingly minor details. One such factor that can change matters right from the start of a case is where the case is filed, as different states have different laws that can impact the issues in the case.

A good example of this is Florida's alimony laws, which differ from other state's laws. Accordingly, since divorce cases filed in Florida will typically follow Florida law, individuals should understand how these laws may apply to their case.

For instance, there are different kinds of alimony that may be awarded in Florida, including bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational or permanent alimony. Accordingly, even within the world of spousal support, there are many different options the court has to make an award in favor of one side or another.

There are a number of factors that are considered by the court in determining whether to award alimony, as well as in deciding how much alimony should be awarded. These factors examine everything from the standard of living during the marriage, to the duration of the marriage, to the financial resources and capabilities of each party and their contributions during the marriage.

Florida law also establishes certain presumptions that apply in alimony cases. For example, a presumption exists that a short-term marriage is any marriage that lasted for less than seven years. A moderate-term marriage is one that had a duration of greater than seven years but less than 17 years, while a long-term marriage is one lasting longer than 17 years. As with other issues, these periods can differ from other state's laws, which can impact whether alimony is awarded or what kind of alimony is awarded.

Ultimately, Florida residents need to understand how the state's laws may apply to their case. This includes not only knowing the law itself, but how the law will be applied in light of the facts of each case.

Source: Florida Legislature, "61.08 Alimony," accessed on Oct. 1, 2016

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