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West Palm Beach Alimony Attorneys

Helping Clients Settle Alimony Matters in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie & Indian River Counties

At Sasser, Cestero & Roy, P.A., we assist couples with negotiating the terms of their alimony award, also known as spousal maintenance, including the type, duration, terms, and amount. It is crucial to understand that if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, the court will evaluate your circumstances and award an alimony order on your behalf.

Designed to provide the dependent spouse with financial support for an allotted period, alimony is often one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce. As such, you should consult with an experienced attorney before entering the proceedings. Make our West Palm Beach alimony attorneys your first choice for reliable counsel that puts your best interests first.

Are you seeking alimony in Florida? Call Sasser, Cestero & Roy, P.A., today at (561) 693-1241 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our alimony lawyer in West Palm Beach.

Types of Alimony in Florida

There are several types of alimony the court may grant you in Florida: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and lump sum, with rehabilitative being the most prevalent.

  • Temporary Support: Temporary support is granted for a period before the divorce is finalized to ensure the dependent spouse remains financially stable during the dissolution process. The dependent spouse will need to demonstrate that he/she has a need for such support, and the supporting spouse must have the ability to pay the support.
  • Bridge-the-Gap Alimony: Florida is one of the few states that offers bridge-the-gap alimony. This support is intended to provide the dependent spouse with financial support for a limited amount of time while he/she transitions from married to single life. Bridge-the-gap alimony shall not exceed 2 years and ends when the supporting spouse dies or the dependent spouse dies or remarries.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: Rehabilitative alimony is unique and is awarded when the supported spouse needs additional time and funds to become self-sustaining. The supported spouse can attain the necessary skills, education, training, and/or work experience during this time. Before the court awards rehabilitative alimony, the party requesting rehabilitative alimony must present a rehabilitative plan that is concrete, for example, how long education will take, where the education will take place and the cost of same. This support terminates after five years, when the supporting spouse dies, or the supported spouse dies or remarries, whichever happens first.
  • Durational Support: This is by far the most common form of alimony awarded in Florida and with the removal of permanent alimony from the statutes effective July 1, 2023, will likely be awarded in most cases where a marriage lasts longer than 3 years. In instances where the supported spouse requires financial assistance for a period after the divorce, durational support may be awarded. The length of durational support cannot last longer than 50% of the span of a short-term marriage (less than 10 years), 60% of the span of a moderate-term marriage (10-20 years), or 75% of the span of a long-term marriage (20 or more years), unless there are exceptional cases. This type of support ends when the supporting spouse dies or the supported spouse dies or remarries. In addition, there are new guidelines for amount of alimony to be awarded and it cannot exceed the need of the recipient spouse or 35% of the difference between the parties net incomes. The length and amount guidelines are just that, guidelines… but for exceptional circumstances they cannot be exceeded, but it can be less than those amounts or time frames.
  • Lump Sum Alimony: Lump sum alimony is a single monetary award paid once or in installments and cannot be modified at any time. This is technically not an additional form of alimony but a type of rehabilitative alimony granted under certain circumstances.

(Looking for permanent alimony? Legal changes in 2023 [61.08] eliminated permanent alimony in Florida, so it is no longer an option for divorces filed after the changes were enacted.)

How is Alimony Amount Determined?

Recent updates to Florida’s alimony law set the amount of durational alimony to be paid by the recipient spouse’s “reasonable” need for it. “Reasonable” is not strictly defined in the statute, leaving some discretion for a family court judge. The same updates also set an alimony cap at 35% of the difference between both spouse’s net incomes, though. Furthermore, the updated laws require to consider the income of a spouse who is “voluntarily unemployed or underemployed” based on their qualifications, work history, and previous income levels when deciding what would be “reasonable.”

Can You Modify or Terminate Alimony?

Unless stated otherwise in a written agreement, either spouse has the right to request an alimony modification if there has been a significant change in circumstances after the initial order was put in place. As of July 2023, Florida’s alimony laws have changed, though, so it is worth a quick review. To reduce or terminate alimony, the supporting spouse must also demonstrate a significant change in circumstances. It is also important to note, the modifications to the statute DO NOT alone serve as a basis to modify and if you have an existing Marital Settlement Agreement or Final Judgment, the ability to modify will more than likely be based on those terms and not necessarily the terms in the new statute.

If a Florida judge finds a substantial change in circumstance, he or she can reduce or terminate alimony after considering several factors, including but not limited to:

  • The standard retirement age of that person's occupation.
  • The economic impact a decrease in alimony would have on the individual receiving the payments.
  • The age and health of the individual who is making the payments.
  • The motivation for retirement and the probability of returning to the workforce for the individual who is making the payments.
  • The existence of a supportive relationship between the ex-spouse who is receiving the payments and another party who is non-related.

Importantly, new legal updates in Florida [61.14] explain that the court must – no longer an indecisive ‘may’ but a certain ‘must’ – reduce or terminate an alimony award if it is discovered and proven that the recipient spouse has entered a “supportive relationship” with another party. In other words, if the recipient spouse is dating or has dated someone who provides financial support, then the court must agree to reduce or terminate the alimony award if the paying spouse requests it. The paying spouse has the burden of proof to show that such a relationship exists between the recipient spouse and another party. Various forms of evidence could be used, ranging from joint bank accounts and shared tenant leases to social media posts of shared vacations.

Contact Our West Palm Beach Alimony Lawyers Today

At Sasser, Cestero & Roy, P.A., we have extensive experience with establishing, modifying, terminating, and enforcing alimony awards, with an emphasis on assisting high-profile clients. In fact, the current version of the alimony statute which includes the original statute from the 80’s, major revisions in 2010 and the new additions from 2023 were drafted primarily by one or more of the partners of our Firm. For cases involving valuable assets like real estate property and business ownership, we have considerable knowledge about the tax implications and how to maximize tax benefits while safeguarding your interests. Of course, we are also well-versed in alimony cases with fewer assets and less stress. No matter what you need out of your alimony case and what it involves, you know that you can trust our West Palm Beach alimony attorneys to see you through to a positive outcome.

Contact Sasser, Cestero & Roy, P.A., today to get in touch with our West Palm Beach alimony attorney. Hablamos español.

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