What are the different types of alimony in Florida?

Financial security in the wake of a divorce can be a very real concern for anyone. However, the longer you have been married, the more of a concern it can be. This can be particularly true if you stopped working during your marriage to take care of your children and home.

Not every household is supported by two incomes. While this may be a good situation when two people are married, it can lead to a serious imbalance when and if a couple gets divorced. In many of these situations, alimony can and should be considered. This financial support can help a person transition out of a marriage without facing serious financial hardship. However, there are different types of spousal support in Florida

  • Bridge-the-gap alimony: This type of spousal support is designed to be short term and help a disadvantaged spouse make the financial transition out of being married. 
  • Rehabilitative alimony: Courts may order rehabilitative alimony in situations where one spouse needs help redeveloping professional skills through training or education. A specific plan for rehabilitative efforts must be included in requests for this type of alimony.
  • Durational alimony: In situations where the need for financial support is more extensive than what may addressed through bridge-the-gap or rehabilitative support, durational alimony may be ordered. This type of alimony can provide more long-term support.
  • Permanent alimony: In some cases, permanent alimony may be ordered though it is not as common as other types of alimony. While there are certainly exceptions, it is typically ordered when two people were married for a long time. Payments only end if one party passes away or if the recipient gets remarried.

As noted in Florida alimony statutes, the type of alimony that is awarded depends on many different factors including the length of a marriage, earning potentials of each spouse and the lifestyle to which spouses got accustomed while married. Courts can decide to order one, multiple or zero types of alimony based on these factors.

If you have concerns regarding alimony and your financial future, it can be quite helpful to discuss your specific situation with your attorney. 

Protecting yourself not the same as preparing for a battle

When people think of divorce, they typically get an idea in their head that it is a long, contentious process propelled by aggression and anger. People imagine bitter spouses screaming at each other in court or making damaging allegations on social media while their attorneys fight over every cent or settlement clause.

However, this connection between divorce and litigation can be misleading, as is the assumption that attorneys are only necessary if two people will be locked in an angry court battle. The fact is that these days, people have several options to avoid all this type of ugliness and your attorney can be a valuable ally in this pursuit.

To begin with, people should understand that speaking with an attorney is not an indication that someone is looking for a fight. Family laws in Florida are complicated and the emotional distress many people feel when faced with these issues can make it very difficult to see your options and rights clearly. Legal counsel can provide valuable insight and advice throughout any divorce.

Even if you are pursuing a collaborative divorce, legal representation can be important. In these situations, the goal is to resolve family legal issues in a peaceful manner but the resolutions should still be enforceable and lawful. Without the assistance of an attorney, you can make some costly mistakes that put your collaborative divorce in jeopardy of getting ugly.

Consulting or hiring an attorney is not an indication that you — or your ex — want to fight or that there is an intention to escalate the situation to litigation. There is nothing wrong with having the guidance and support of an attorney when you are navigating the legal system.

If you have questions about the legal process, the options for dispute resolution or your rights during a divorce, speaking with an attorney familiar with all types of divorces can be a wise decision. Our firm has a webpage dedicated to collaborative divorce in Florida and if you are looking for more information on subject, you can visit our site.

Former couple picture-perfect example of collaborative divorce

In this blog and all throughout our website, we discuss the fact that divorce, while difficult, doesn’t have to be the legal battle many people expect. Of course there are cases where two people are angry, resentful, defensive and even vengeful, but there are also plenty of cases where people just want to respectfully separate and focus on the future.

These types of amicable divorces have seemingly become more common in recent years. We read about celebrities “consciously uncoupling” and laws being passed to favor shared parenting arrangements. Most recently, yet another indication of this respectful divorce trend went viral thanks to a photo of a former couple.

The photograph shows a man and woman outside a courthouse after filing for divorce. And they are smiling.

According to the woman in the picture who shared it on her Facebook page, she and her ex are smiling because they have chosen to pursue a collaborative, respectful divorce for the benefit of their future and their children. By taking a civil and thoughtful approach to the divorce, she says she and her husband will be able to continue being partners as parents and avoid the ugliness of a contentious divorce.

This approach may be very similar to the one you may be interested in if you are considering a divorce and that may ultimately help get through a divorce a little easier.

However, you should remember that divorce — whether it is amicable or not — is a legal process. Paperwork needs to be submitted, assets should be divided, child custody and support arrangements must be approved and spousal support may need to be ordered. For these reasons, it can be wise to have an attorney help you through the process.

Having legal counsel doesn’t mean you are gearing up for a fight. It can simply be a way to ensure everything is done properly and your rights are protected throughout the process. Discussing your intention to pursue a civil divorce with an attorney who appreciates and understands collaborative divorce can be the best way to get started.

Source: The Huffington Post, “This Couple’s Divorce Selfie Is Surprisingly Sweet,” Brittany Wong, Sept. 2, 2015

What’s the difference between marital and non-marital property?

Dividing up your assets in a divorce can be a frightening and frustrating experience. No matter how much money is at stake, people can be very protective of what they feel they deserve and go to great lengths to try and protect their financial future. If you are unfamiliar with laws regarding property division in Florida, you can be even more concerned about what you can expect as you navigate the divorce process.

However, having some basic information about the asset division process in this state can help allay some of your concerns if you are in this situation. To being with, you should understand that not every dollar, asset or debt will automatically be divided.

Property and money belonging to the couple (also called marital assets) will be divided in accordance with what is deemed equitable or fair. Non-marital property (also called separate property) will typically be returned to the individual who owns it.

Non-marital property refers to property that was or is owned by only one person. This can include:

  • Homes owned prior to the marriage
  • Financial liabilities incurred before marriage
  • Proceeds from the sale of separate property
  • Money or property received by one spouse as an inheritance or gift
  • Assets deemed separate in a prenuptial agreement

However, it is important to note that even if something was considered separate at one time, it may ultimately become marital property. For instance, if you bought a home before getting married but then used money from shared accounts to maintain the property, it could be considered marital.

Generally speaking, though, separate assets will be retained by the individual owner and will not be eligible for distribution.

If you have specific questions about property, debts or financial accounts and how or if they will be divided in a divorce, it can be crucial to discuss them with your attorney.