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Who can get permanent alimony?

Florida is one of the few states that allows the awarding of permanent spousal support as part of a divorce settlement. The court does not give it to just anyone, though. Who can get permanent alimony? How is the amount determined?

Permanent alimony is for those individuals who were in long-term marriages and require support coming out of them. The amount awarded depends on a number of factors. What factors will the court look at to determine if permanent alimony is appropriate and how much to award if it is?

Alimony factors

Before a judge decides to award alimony, the court will first look at the length of the marriage. To achieve permanent alimony, the couple must have been in a marriage for at least 17 years. After that, the judge will look at:

  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The education of both spouses
  • The earnings of both spouses
  • The ages of each party
  • The physical and emotional health of each party
  • The roles each party played during the marriage -- such as homemaker or breadwinner

If the marriage lasted long enough and a judge agrees that one spouse requires support, the amount awarded may be in one lump sum or in monthly installments until the receiving party remarries or passes away.

Is the support amount adjustable?

Like any other alimony order, it is possible to seek an adjustment if you feel it's necessary to do so. The payer may seek a reduction if he or she experiences financial troubles or a reduction in income. The payee may seek an increase if he or she finds the amount awarded insufficient to meet his or her needs.

If you are preparing to go through the divorce process in the state of Florida and you have questions about alimony -- permanent or any other type -- an experienced family law attorney will be able to answer your questions. At the end of the day, alimony, in any of its forms, is not something a judge will grant just because one party requested it.

If you feel you've earned alimony, you will need to prove that in court. On the flip side, if you feel your spouse should not receive it, you need to explain why. Legal counsel can assist you in seeking a fair alimony settlement, regardless of which side of the table you are on.

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