RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
“Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results.”
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Permanent Alimony

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Family in need of attorney

Gainesville Family Law Attorney, Karen S. Yochim, of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. understands the intense financial concerns that go along with the process of dissolving a marriage—spousal support is just one. In Florida, there are many types of spousal support that can be awarded to a party in a dissolution action. While some are more limited in duration or purpose, such as durational, rehabilitative or temporary/bridge-the gap alimony, others, such as permanent or lump-sum, can offer more long-term stability. Permanent Alimony is a distinct form of spousal support that is generally available only in cases where other forms of alimony are found to be inappropriate. It provides the recipient with payments on a periodic and ongoing basis for an indefinite duration.

At Alba & Yochim, protecting your legal interests, ensuring your financial stability, and providing you with peace of mind are our goals. Having represented clients from the perspectives of both the person requesting alimony and one opposing it, Attorney Yochim has gained the insight necessary to provide effective advocacy in a full range of alimony and spousal support matters, including proceedings involving the establishment, defense, appeal, modification, termination as well as enforcement of permanent alimony. Our client focused results driven attorneys will help ensure your alimony interests are protected.

Generally speaking, permanent alimony is dependent on three primary factors: (1) the length of the marital union; (2) the standard of living acquired during the marriage; and (3) the income disparities between parties. Pursuant to Florida Statute §61.08(8):

Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage.

In determining whether permanent alimony is appropriate, the court must eliminate the suitability of other types of spousal support. In other words, the court must conclude that ‘no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties.’ However, it is also important to note that permanent alimony can be awarded in addition to another form of support, such as temporary or lump-sum alimony.

With regard to the length of a marriage, Florida law sets forth the standards used by the court in evaluating a request for permanent alimony, based upon three main categories of marital duration: (1) long-term; (2) moderate-term; (3) short-term.

  • Long-term marriages. Defined as those lasting longer 17 years or more. Requires the same recipient-need versus payor-ability analysis used in other forms of alimony, including ‘all relevant factors,’ in addition to those set forth by Fla. Stat. §61.08(2)(a)-(j). (i.e. financial resources, assets, contributions during marriage, earning capacity, physical and mental health, child-rearing responsibilities, and tax consequences)
  • Moderate-term marriages. Defined as those lasting more than 7 years, but less than 17 years. Requires ‘clear and convincing’ evidence that permanent alimony is appropriate upon consideration of the factors set forth by Fla. Stat. §61.08(2)(a)-(j). (i.e. the spouse requesting support provided significant support to the other spouse while they attained the education or credentials that eventually provided the couple’s primary income)
  • Short-term marriages. Defined as those lasting less than 7 years. Requires written findings of ‘exceptional circumstances’ (i.e. the recipient spouse has special medical needs, or relied solely upon their spouse’s income from the onset of the relationship due to their inability to work; and/or provided the marriage with as substantial amount of income, such that denial of support would result in grave injustice of the equitable interests of each party).

Regardless of the duration of the marriage, the disparity of income between parties will come into play in some form or another in nearly every alimony proceeding, whether involving the establishment of an initial order, or in subsequent proceedings (i.e. appeals, enforcement, modification, termination). Like other forms of spousal support, an award for permanent alimony cannot leave the payer with substantially less income than that of the recipient, unless it can be shown that exceptional circumstances exist. Having a legal advocate that can perform the same need-ability income disparity analysis employed by the court is essential to attaining the best results.

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Following the court’s entry of an award for permanent alimony, it is sometimes necessary for the recipient to enforce the order when the obligor fails to make payments. Just as with past due child support, there are many enforcement methods that can be used to obtain past due alimony payments. Examples include wage garnishment, contempt proceedings, or placing a lien on the obligor’s assets, property, tax refunds, or personal injury proceeds. We are experienced in all.

In Florida, permanent alimony can be both terminated and modified. Either party request modification or termination based upon a substantial change in circumstances. In addition, the obligor may be able to reduce or terminate payments, in circumstances where there is evidence that a ‘supportive relationship’ exists between the recipient and a person that is not ‘related by consanguinity or affinity.’ As with other types of support, death of either party, or the recipient’s remarriage can provide grounds for termination of permanent alimony.

Depending on the circumstance of each party, establishing permanent alimony, due to its often indefinite nature, can be difficult. However, by having an attorney with experience and know-how to effectively advocate on your behalf, obtaining an award for payments on a permanent basis can be accomplished. On the other hand, a spouse that is defending a request for permanent support certainly must hire an alimony attorney, given the long-term impact of incurring an ongoing financial obligation. In short, regardless of which ‘side of the fence’ you are on, it is important to know your legal rights, and to take measures to protect them.

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