Under Florida's alimony laws, courts may consider either spouse's adultery when determining whether to award spousal support and how much to award. The Florida law that controls alimony states that, "the court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded."
The other factors courts may consider include:
When the court issues an order for alimony, it must include a statement of facts regarding which factors it found to support the award or denial of alimony.
In considering the adultery, the court will generally look to see if there was a financial detriment to the non-adulterous spouse. For example, if the "guilty" (adulterous) spouse took his or her girlfriend or boyfriend on lavish vacations, bought them jewelry, or paid rent for his or her lover's apartment during the marriage, the "innocent" (non-cheating) spouse will be able to show some financial detriment because marital assets (which could have been used to benefit the family or marriage) were instead wasted for non-marital purposes.
There are several types of alimony available in Florida, including bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony and permanent alimony.
"Bridge-the-gap" alimony is just what it sounds like – it's an award of alimony to allow the receiving spouse to transition from married life to single life. The interesting features of bridge-the-gap alimony are:
Rehabilitative alimony is awarded when the receiving spouse needs to develop (or re-develop) his or her job skills or credentials in order to become self-supporting. Let's say, for example, when a couple was first married, the receiving spouse was a hairdresser. However, when the couple decided to have children, the hairdresser stopped doing hair to be a stay-at-home parent. Now several years have elapsed, his or her skills are outdated, and the hairdresser's license has expired.
The hairdresser spouse may need some time and financial assistance to re-train and find another job in the field. Rehabilitative alimony is meant to provide the financial support needed in order to allow the supported spouse to get trained and find a job.
The other key components to rehabilitative alimony are:
This is a newly-named form of alimony in Florida. It was added to address short-term (less than 7 years) or moderate-term marriages (greater than 7 years but less than 17 years), and to apply when permanent alimony is not appropriate.
Durational alimony is:
This is uniformly the most dreaded form of alimony for a paying spouse and the most desired form of alimony for a receiving spouse. Generally, permanent periodic alimony is awarded in long-term marriages (those over 17 years in duration).
The features of permanent periodic alimony are:
It's important to know that more than one form of alimony may be awarded in any case. If you have questions about alimony in Florida, you should contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.
For the text of the law governing Alimony, see Florida's Statutes Annotated Section 61.08.