As its name suggests, permanent alimony is just that — permanent. When a married couple divorces, the presiding judge may order the paying spouse to provide financial support to the receiving spouse until the receiving spouse dies, becomes remarried, or enters into a financially supportive relationship. However, Florida law states that permanent alimony may be modified or terminated under specific circumstances.
If you are in the process of filing for divorce and require the assistance of an experienced Gainesville divorce attorney, contact us today. The attorneys with The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates will work alongside you to identify which type of alimony best accommodates the requirements of your unique case.
What Is Permanent Alimony?
Also called permanent periodic alimony, permanent alimony is generally awarded in moderate to long-term marriages. The alimony continues until either party dies and/or one party remarries or enters into a financially supportive relationship. The aim of this type of alimony is to provide for the needs and standard of living established during the marriage for the party who lacks financial ability to meet those needs following a divorce. Permanent alimony can be requested by either party who believes he or she has a need for financial assistance. If you need help navigating the alimony process and requesting for alimony, our family law attorneys can help.
Is There A Time Requirement For Permanent Alimony?
The overarching factor in determining if your divorce is eligible for permanent alimony is the total length of the marriage. This length is counted as the time from the marriage date to the date of the dissolution judgment. Generally, marriages lasting fewer than 10 years have a low possibility of paying and/or receiving alimony. A marriage of 12 or more years has a probable chance, and marriages of 17 or more years are very likely to have alimony paid and/or received. But, if a marriage of less than 10 years has unusual circumstances, such as a spouse with poor health and/or a disability which would prevent a party from gaining employment, permanent alimony may be awarded. For more information, contact our alimony attorneys in Gainesville, FL.
Can Permanent Alimony Be Terminated Or Modified?
As previously noted, a permanent alimony order can be terminated under two main circumstances: if either spouse dies or if the receiving spouse remarries, thus relieving the paying spouse of any financial support liability. Modifications to alimony can be made under specific circumstances if there is a substantial change in circumstance to the receiving spouse. If the party receiving the permanent alimony receiving a substantial inheritance, for example, the courts may modify the terms of permanent alimony. If the paying party experiences long-term unemployment or another involuntary issue that impedes on his or her ability to pay alimony, modifications to the order may also be issued.
How Is Permanent Alimony Determined?
Florida courts have some leverage in determining an alimony order. The court will determine whether permanent alimony is necessary as well as whether the paying spouse is able to adequately provide permanent financial support to the receiving spouse. If the courts find that these conditions are met, a number of specific factors are taken into account to determine whether permanent alimony should be awarded.
Financial Resources Of Receiving Spouse
Financial resources include more than just income. Property acquired before the marriage and any property awarded during the division of marital assets are also considered when identifying the financial resources of the receiving party.
Marital Standard Of Living
The goal of alimony is to provide support for the receiving party to continue enjoying the accustomed standard of living during the marriage. The court will investigate and determine the appropriate standard before awarding alimony.
Physical & Emotional Conditions & Age Of Spouses
Physical and/or emotional needs of either spouse that may need treatment will be considered in the alimony determination. If the court finds alimony is inappropriate due to this factor, it can order alimony not be paid.
Alimony is considered taxable for the receiving party and tax deductible for the payor. A court may take into account how permanent alimony will be considered in regard to taxes from federal and/or state governments when determining whether to award alimony.
Earning Capacity, Educational History, Vocational Skills, & Employability For Each Spouse
Consideration will be given if one spouse did not advance in a career or education to raise children or to support the other party in some way.
In the case that one party wishes to pursue training or education to further their skills to support themselves this is also taken into account by the court. The proposing spouse is responsible for detailing the amount of time and money needed to do so.
The Contribution Of Each Spouse To The Marriage
A court can also consider adultery and supportive relationships in determining permanent alimony. Adultery is given consideration when it caused financial harm to the other party, such as when marital assets and funds were used to give gifts. A supportive relationship is usually found when the other party resides with another person.
It can be determined by the court if the court finds an extent and/or amount of financial interdependence, holding themselves as a married couple, joint contribution or purchase of real or personal property, and more.