St. Petersburg Alimony Lawyer
Although alimony is not required or an automatic feature of every divorce, it is frequently asked for and often granted in Florida divorce cases, especially cases where one party has a high net worth compared to the other. Getting alimony requires proving you genuinely need it, and the other party is able to pay it. Once these factors are established, the judge next has to decide what type of alimony to award, how much it should be and how long it should last. When the spouses disagree over the payment of alimony, they’ll have to litigate it in court and convince the judge their position should prevail. The St. Petersburg alimony lawyers at Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., provide high-quality advice and representation based on decades of experience in Florida divorce as well as Board Certification in Marital and Family Law.
Different Types of Alimony in Florida
If the court determines the receiving party needs alimony and the paying party has the ability to pay, the judge still needs to determine which type of alimony is appropriate. Florida law recognizes four different categories of alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance. The duration of the marriage and the needs of both parties are central to determining which kind of alimony applies. These needs can be addressed in family law mediation or collaborative divorce, or through litigation if the issue of alimony is contested.
The four categories of Alimony in Florida are:
Bridge-the-Gap – Payments are made for as long as two years as needed to ease the receiving party’s transition to single life and self-sufficiency.
Rehabilitative – The receiving party submits a plan that outlines the steps required to become self-supporting through obtaining education, job training, work experience, or reacquiring previous skills or credentials.
Durational – The court orders payments for a defined period as a form of economic assistance.
Permanent – The court orders payments indefinitely to a party who does not have the financial ability to meet the needs and necessities of life that were established in the marriage.
Permanent alimony is typically only awarded after a long marriage that lasted for at least 17 years. Durational alimony is more likely to be awarded after a shorter marriage if a permanent award is not appropriate.
Factors That Influence an Alimony Award
Florida law requires a judge to consider “all relevant factors” regarding the property type and amount of alimony. Specifically, the court must consider the following:
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
- The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
- The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
- The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.
- All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., can help by presenting a case to the judge arguing how these factors should influence the court’s decision. Our alimony attorneys are deeply knowledgeable and experienced regarding the alimony factors and how to apply them in a given case.
Help With Alimony in St. Petersburg Is a Phone Call Away
Whether you are the party seeking alimony or being asked to pay, strong and effective legal representation is essential to your success. In St. Petersburg, call Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., at 727-822-4929 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a skilled and knowledgeable St. Petersburg alimony lawyer.