There's often no hotter divorce topic than alimony -- largely because it is misunderstood. If you live in Florida and are economically dependent on your spouse, here are some facts about alimony that you need to know.
1. Florida has several different forms of alimony payment.
Spousal support is not a "one size fits all" system because marriages -- and situations -- are not all alike. The state recognizes that some spouses should only be entitled to a more limited term of alimony than others.
2. Temporary alimony can begin before the divorce is final.
Many people think that spousal support is something that only gets awarded following a divorce -- but that would be very unfair to a spouse that is financially dependent. Temporary alimony is often awarded shortly after a motion for divorce is filed in order to stabilize the dependent spouse and keep the household bills paid.
3. The length of your financial dependence usually affects how long alimony lasts.
If you've only been dependent on your spouse for a few years, the court will usually only impose a temporary form of alimony that is designed to get you back on your feet and able to be financially independent. In some cases, that may be what is referred to as "bridge the gap" alimony -- which merely eases your transition back into the workforce if you haven't been out that long.
On the other hand, if you've been out of the workforce so long that your skills have gotten rusty, "rehabilitative" alimony that gives you time to go back to school or find a new career might be more appropriate. For example, maybe you stopped working as a nurse in order to stay home with your minor children. You may need to take classes to recertify your nursing license before you can return to work, in which case rehabilitative alimony is fair.
4. There are only a few situations that qualify for permanent alimony.
Permanent alimony -- which lasts until one spouse dies or the recipient of the alimony remarries -- is usually only awarded in a few cases. Those are situations where the dependent spouse became disabled during the marriage or gave up the chance for an independent career in order to further the interests of the family by taking care of the home, the couple's children, or serving as support to his or her former spouse.
Every state has slightly different rules about how alimony works. For more information about how it is likely to work in your situation, talk to a divorce attorney today.