Jacksonville Alimony Lawyer
In the State of Florida, a family court judge has broad discretion to award alimony or spousal support to be paid by one spouse to another. An important change in the new tax code no longer allows for high income parties to take their alimony payments as a tax deduction and the receiving spouse to recognize their alimony payments as income. As stated above, this new change in the tax code only affects “high income” individuals. The shifting of the tax burden created by alimony payments is an important factor to consider when structuring the overall financial support component of a divorce. Our Jacksonville alimony lawyers are highly skilled in examining various financial settlements that will provide the greatest amount of income to our client while minimizing the tax impact.
There are several categories of alimony that a family law judge may award, which are:
- Bridge-the-gap alimony, which is short-term (3 to 6 months) and is designed to financially assist the requesting spouse through the transition of married life to single life.
- Rehabilitative alimony, which is designed to assist the requesting spouse support for a limited amount of time to regain certain certifications or to complete educational requirements that will enable them to re-enter the work force and obtain gainful employment at a level that will enable them to support themselves. On a cautionary note, Rehabilitative alimony is basically drawn in contract form so that if the receiving spouse voluntarily terminates her educational process or does not apply for the agreed upon recertification, this conduct may be considered a breach of contract by the paying spouse and the support may be terminated by application to the Court.
- Durational alimony, whose purpose is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time for a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the party receiving alimony.
- Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage.
Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of certain statutory factors. Our firm has the experience and knowledge to present these statutory factors to the Court in a light that most favorably supports an award of permanent alimony.
Under certain conditions, a divorces spouse paying alimony has the ability to seek an order for modification or termination of their alimony obligation based on a substantial change in circumstances, such as:
- Death of the former spouse;
- Remarriage of the former spouse;
- Cohabitation of former spouse.
Our firm is just a phone call away from answering your questions concerning your rights and responsibilities regarding alimony and modification of your current obligation. Stop worrying about your situation and call our offices to get answers to the questions that are bothering you. At the law offices of Daniel M. Copeland, we are always ready to assist in answering your questions and resolving your issues.
As with other issues that need to be resolved in divorce proceedings, alimony issues are typically worked out between the spouses with a view toward compromising what they might possibly receive from a judge on a contested divorce. The main issues to be focused on are to find a balance between one spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay. Non-working spouses in a long-term marriage who never developed significant professional or occupational skills are the ones most likely to receive alimony; the longer the marriage lasted, the more likely it is that the alimony award will be permanent. As to younger spouses who have been out of the workforce while raising children, an alimony award will more likely be rehabilitative in nature and in an amount sufficient to support a period of career development or completing their education.
Recently, the Florida Legislature significantly updated Florida law concerning the modification of alimony. Florida law now allows a judge to consider cohabitation or de facto marriage as grounds for modifying or terminating alimony. Now, under Florida cohabitation or living in a mutually supportive relationship is recognized as a basis for modification of alimony.
If you are unsure of the likelihood of alimony in your divorce or have a basis to believe that your former spouse is cohabitating with another in a supportive relationship and would like to explore the potential to modify or terminate alimony, contact us and let’s discuss the facts of your particular situation.