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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Rehabilitative Alimony

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Family in need of attorney

The Gainesville Alimony Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. know the challenges you face as you struggle through a divorce. The process of divorce is stressful enough, let alone having to worry about how you will be able to meet financial obligations and provide yourself and your family with basic necessities. This is particularly concerning in marriages where one spouse relied on the other spouse’s income as their primary means of support but was not married for more than 17 years. In these circumstances, rehabilitative alimony can provide the receiving spouse with the income necessary to sustain themselves, until they can become self-supporting.

Alimony comes in many forms, and can serve a variety of purposes. In contrast to permanent periodic alimony, rehabilitative support is generally awarded for a fixed period of time. Pursuant to Florida Statute §61.08(6)(a):

Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through either:

(1) The redevelopment of previous skills or credentials;

OR

(2) The acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.

According to statistical data, most marriages in the U.S. are of moderate duration, which Florida statutes define as those lasting between 7 and 17 years. These unions are problematic because they are often too long to be discredited and too short to qualify for permanent alimony. Rehabilitative support best suits these ‘gray area’ marriages, as it provides a means of support to a spouse that may otherwise be ineligible for permanent alimony, but that needs assistance to become self-supporting.

In order for the court to award rehabilitative alimony, the requesting party must provide a detailed outline that specifically defines the methods by which the recipient will rehabilitate him or herself to be self-supporting. This is referred to a ‘rehabilitation plan.’ Examples include the expense and duration of an occupational and/or educational program, as well as any post-education requirements, such as state-mandated testing associated with obtaining a license in one’s desired field of work. In addition, the plan must state how the education, training, and/or credential sought will lead to gainful employment, including the expected earnings or earning capacity that the recipient expects to attain as a result of rehabilitation.

While judge’s have much discretion in ruling on alimony matters, this discretion is not limitless. It is important to keep in mind that simply asserting a request for rehabilitative alimony, without providing the court with grounds to make such award, restricts the court’s ability to grant requests for spousal support of this nature. In general, the most effective approach is to submit a rehabilitative plan that is not only detailed, but also realistic. Our client focused results driven attorneys have years of experience and knowledge in creating rehabilitation plans in conjunction with occupational evaluators and educators, which the court will find both realistic and credible.

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It is also important to consider the often binding effect that the terms presented in a rehabilitative plan can have on a requesting party. For example, if the recipient later finds the duration or amount of support requested to be insufficient, the court may deny modification, and choose to adhere to the terms of the original plan. In contrast, if the duration or amount requested is excessive, or contrary to the evidence presented, the request could be denied, or reversed on appeal.

Rehabilitative alimony can be terminated or modified to increase or decrease payments, based upon noncompliance or completion of the rehabilitative plan, as well as a substantial change in circumstances. In example, a party may seek modification to increase support payments, in cases where the recipient becomes ill or disabled, the result of which is an inability to carry out the rehabilitative plan and/or significant medical expenses.

On the other hand, a party obligated to make support payments, may seek to reduce or terminate rehabilitative support where the recipient’s income has substantially increased through employment, or the court finds that the recipient is residing with a person in which a ‘supportive relationship’ exists. For more on this topic, seeAlimony & Cohabitation.’

Determining whether rehabilitative alimony is the most appropriate form of support will depend on your individual circumstance. The Gainesville Alimony attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. can evaluate your matter, and explain your options as they relate to either requesting support, or defending a request for support.