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How Florida judges decide between temporary and permanent alimony

In Florida, there are two types of alimony, durational and permanent, each of which is intended to help a spouse cover their bills as they adjust to their new set of financial circumstances. While many judges generally lean toward awarding spouses durational alimony, there are situations in which they still award permanent spousal support awards.

Durational alimony

Temporary spousal support is intended to help a husband or wife be able to cover their expenses for a particular period of time. A husband or wife can qualify to receive this type of alimony whether their marriage was long or short.

Alimony awards are generally temporary, with the judge giving a valid reason for awarding permanent support Alimony is virtually always terminated once a recipient spouse remarries or dies.

Under Florida Statute ยง 61.14(7), a paying spouse can petition a judge to modify or terminate the support order if their ex's financial circumstances change. The length of time that a spouse must pay generally can't be modified though. Florida law prohibits a judge from ordering that alimony be paid for a period longer than the marriage lasted as well.

Permanent alimony

A spouse may be ordered to make spousal support payments to their ex for the remainder of their life if they're unable to provide for their necessities on their own. Any judge awarding permanent support must justify their award by stating that no other type of alimony would be reasonable or fair.

Permanent alimony is generally only awarded to spouses who were married to their husbands or wives for a prolonged period of time, but in rare instances is awarded to those who were in short-term marriages.

As with temporary alimony, permanent spousal support generally has to be paid up until the recipient either remarries or dies. It can also be modified or terminated if the paying spouse can show that their ex's financial situation has significantly improved or if they've entered a supportive relationship with someone else.

While awards of permanent alimony are rare, there are extenuating circumstances that may motivate a judge to award your ex long-term payments. Some of these same factors may also lead them to order you to pay higher monthly amounts over an extended period of time. A Kissimmee alimony attorney can advise you of the many factors that may impact a judge's determination of a proper spousal support award.

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