Spousal support, as readers may know, can be a contentious issue in divorce just as property division, child custody, and other issues can be. For spouses who are not ending their marriage on amicable terms—and many do not—having to pay for their former partner’s maintenance can be a frustrating thing to do, especially if the alimony award is significant.
This is especially the case when permanent alimony is awarded. Although awards of permanent alimony are rare in Florida, they can and do still occur. Florida statute provides that judges may award permanent alimony when a party’s financial resources after the divorce will not support his or her manner of living as it was established during the marriage.
Permanent alimony may be awarded upon the dissolution of a marriage of any length if it can be shown that no other form of alimony will offer fair and reasonable support to the disadvantaged spouse given all the circumstances of the case. The requirements for such an award vary depending on the length of the marriage.
Naturally, it is easiest to obtain permanent alimony after a long marriage, though it may also be awarded upon the dissolution of marriages of moderate or short length. For marriages of moderate length, there is a heightened standard of proof in showing that permanent alimony is appropriate. Such awards are rare for short marriages, and require a showing that there are unique circumstances which warrant permanent alimony.
In our next post, we’ll continue this discussion on alimony and look at the public debate surrounding the issue of abolishing permanent alimony in Florida.