Lawrence J. Siemer, P.A. - Orange Park Divorce Lawyer

Phone: (904) 269-9930  Email:  

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Lawrence J. Siemer P.A.
1279 Kingsley Avenue
Orange Park, Florida
(904) 269-9930

Many people have questions about alimony: What is it? Can I get it? How long will I have to pay it? If the judge says that I have to pay it, what happens if circumstances change? These are all good questions and, as you might expect, the answer to each is seldom simple. However, the following is  an overview of alimony – also called spousal support – which should take away some of the mystery.

First, alimony is generally only available if there is a significant difference in the incomes of the parties, and it is only available if the parties are married. If you have just lived together, no matter how long, you will not be entitled to alimony. If you and your spouse have roughly the same income, alimony is not likely to be an issue. It is equally available to both husbands and wives.

Alimony can take many forms, and each is considered using similar, but not necessarily identical, factors. Some of those factors are:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage (that is, what will it cost for each person to continue to live as they did in the recent past before the marriage ran into trouble)
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party
  • The financial resources of each party
  • The earning capacity of each party (note: not necessarily just what the person earns at the present time) considering all factors
  • Essentially, any other factor that reasonably impacts the requesting party’s needs and the other party’s ability to pay.

If your spouse is asking that you pay spousal support, it will generally not be a defense to that claim for alimony that you only have sufficient income to keep yourself at the marital standard of living.

Different kinds of spousal support/alimony include:

  • Permanent: (which isn’t really permanent). Such alimony ends on the remarriage of the receiving spouse, the death of either party, a legally relevant change in the financial circumstances of the parties, and, sometimes, the fact that a receiving spouse is engaged in a supportive relationship with another. It can, however, continue for the rest of your life.
  • Durational: This relatively new form of alimony is for a period of years not to exceed the length of the marriage. It may be subject to modification for the same reasons as stated above for Permanent alimony.
  • Temporary: Generally shorter term alimony designed to allow the needy party to transition from being married to being single. It can also be awarded to assist a party during the divorce proceedings.
  • Rehabilitative: Alimony based around a plan of retraining and increased earning ability.

If things change after a court awards alimony – such as the loss of your job - you may very well be entitled to a modification – but you need to act quickly. If you don’t, you could wind up being liable for unpaid alimony and there may be nothing the court can do about it. Why? Because Florida law only permits the court to go back to the date you formally requested the change when it grants you the modification. In almost all cases you are stuck with owing all amounts that come due before you request the change. How this is approached varies depending on the situation. We can help you through this difficult process.  

The foregoing is not intended to be all-inclusive, but is simply intended to give you an idea of the subject, which is far too complex to fully explain here.

The Firm stands ready to assist you with your alimony issues and questions whether you reside in Orange Park, Jacksonville, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Fleming Island, or elsewhere in the Clay and Duval County areas.

The information on this site is not intended to present a comprehensive explanation of the law and cannot be considered to be legal advice. It should not be relied upon in making decisions in your individual case. If you require legal advice and assistance you should consult an attorney. 

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