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How long does alimony last after a Florida divorce?

| Nov 3, 2021 | Divorce |

In many families, one spouse may work part-time or even leave the workforce altogether to support the family, handle household matters or raise children. These adults sacrifice income and the opportunity to command a higher wage through experience on the job. 

Alimony or spousal support is often necessary for a lower-earning or dependent spouse after a divorce. If the Florida family courts order alimony, one spouse will have to make routine support payments to the other to help cover their cost of living expenses. 

If you are financially dependent on your spouse, the alimony that you receive could help set you up for an independent future. How long can you rely on receiving alimony?

There are numerous ways for the courts to handle alimony

Florida state law requires that a judge considering a request for alimony weigh numerous factors when deciding what is necessary and appropriate. The length of the marriage plays a significant role, with the state defining short-term marriages as a marriage that lasts less than seven years and long-term marriage as one that lasts more than 17 years. 

Those in longer-term marriages may have a stronger claim to longer-lasting alimony payments. The courts may order bridge-the-gap alimony, which will last no longer than two years to help someone restabilize their financial circumstances. Spouses may also qualify for somewhat longer-lasting rehabilitative alimony. 

Although the courts can theoretically order permanent alimony, they will likely only do so in rare situations involving medical issues, children with special needs or decades-long marriages. Typically, if someone can return to work after a divorce, the courts will expect them to do so. Understanding rules related to alimony in Florida divorces can help you prepare for court or negotiate with your spouse more effectively.