Florida Alimony FAQ's - Tampa Divorce Lawyer Nilo Sanchez
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Nilo J. Sanchez, Jr., Esq.
1006 N. Armenia Avenue
Tampa, FL 33607
Phone: 813-879-4600
Facsimile: 813-879-4650
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Tampa Bay, Pinellas & Pasco Counties
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Alimony in Florida - FAQ's

Question- I have been married just over 15 years, will I be automatically awarded permanent alimony?
Answer - If you have been married long term or if you have been married for even a short amount time, the courts can award alimony according to Fla Statute §61.08.
In the case of spouses who have been married a even a short amount of time, the courts may find that there are exceptional circumstances where an ex spouse may be entitled to permanent alimony. Florida courts can only award permanent alimony after making findings of fact that support that no other form of alimony is fair or reasonable before awarding permanent alimony. However, the courts generally consider permanent alimony when spouses have been married for a long duration. In short, permanent alimony can be awarded by the courts but they must first show that no other form of alimony will provide your with ability to become and remain self-sufficient. Other forms of alimony the Florida courts will consider is rehabilitative alimony, lump sum alimony and durational alimony. The courts will look at these types of alimony first, and consider each or a combination of each type of alimony, when deciding whether or not permanent alimony should be awarded.

Question - If I am awarded permanent alimony will those payments ever stop?
Answer - Permanent alimony in Florida is not always permanent. For instance, permanent alimony will stop automatically if the recipient remarries and it may be modified or reduced if there is a substantial change in the circumstances of either party. Permanent alimony may stop if the parties agree on a specific duration, and it will continue if the parties agree that it is non-modifiable. A petition for modification of alimony must be presented to the court for them to consider termination of alimony, a reduction of alimony or an increase in alimony but a substantial change in circumstance must be present.

Question: I want to retire but I am paying permanent alimony. Can my alimony be modified or will it only stop upon my death or if my ex-spouse remarries?
Answer: Alimony can be modified if the courts find there is a substantial change in circumstance unless you and your ex-spouse specifically agreed to non-modifiable permanent alimony in writing. The courts in Florida cannot order a modification on non-modifiable alimony. If you are at a point where you can retire, and you have not agreed to non-modifiable alimony, then you can petition the courts for modification of alimony.

Question - My ex-spouse has remarried and their combined income is considerably more than when we divorced. Is it possible to get an increase in alimony?
Answer: Florida law does not allow the inclusion of a spouse's income when considering alimony. There have been cases, however, where the Florida courts have penalized a payor who has been found to have intentionally used the new spouse to hide assets to avoid paying alimony. However, the courts may or may not find that the recipient requesting an increase has shown evidence of need, and proving fraud does not necessarily mean the payor will be ordered to increase their alimony payments. 

Question: I am afraid that my standard of living will substantially change once I am divorced. Will I be awarded enough alimony to maintain my current standard of living?
Answer: Most divorcing couples both face the possibility that their standard of living will change. Although it is a factor, standard of living is not the determining factor when the courts are determining the type or amount of alimony that may be awarded. There are many other factors that the courts will examine before awarding alimony.

Question: What happens to my alimony if my ex-spouse dies?
Answer: When petitioning the courts for an order of alimony, you might ask that it be ordered that your ex-spouse is to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy, bond or other method of security. Should your ex spouse die before the obligated amount of alimony is paid your alimony would be secured. The courts may or may not order the payor to do so, however.

For a consultation with an aggressive, experienced Tampa divorce attorney Nilo J Sanchez & Associates, please contact our office. Mr. Sanchez provides representation in divorce cases where alimony is a factor and also handles modification of alimony cases after a final order of dissolution of marriage has been entered.


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