Despite efforts to reform Florida alimony laws, permanent alimony is still on the books. However, most family court judges only award this type of spousal support in rare cases when the determining factors merit it and other options do not apply.
The court may consider a number of factors when determining alimony, including:
- Duration of the marriage
- Established standard of living
- Age and health of ex-spouse
- Financial situation and earning capacity of ex-spouse
- Contributions to the marriage
The classic permanent alimony case would involve a long marriage (17 years or more) where the husband worked while the wife stayed home, raised the children, and provided significant emotional and practical support to her husband and his successful career. After 30 years, he asks for a divorce. She asks for permanent alimony to maintain her standard of living, as her age, poor health, and lack of education or any job experience make it unlikely that she will be able to do so on her own.
The court would have to show that the following options would not be appropriate:
- Bridge-the-gap — short-term, transitional financial assistance
- Rehabilitative — economic assistance so the ex-spouse can become self-supporting
- Durational — economic assistance for a set period of time
There is no set formula for determining the amount for any of these types of alimony. Your best chance of receiving the most advantageous spousal support is to work with a knowledgeable divorce attorney.