I Was Awarded Durational Alimony – What Does That Mean?
There are a number of different types of alimony that courts can award during divorce in Florida, each of which is aimed at filling a specific need. Permanent alimony, for instance, is usually only awarded following the end of a marriage that lasted more than 17 years, where one of the parties is unable to financially support him or herself. Bridge-the-gap and rehabilitative alimony, on the other hand, help lesser earning spouses obtain the training and education they need to help them become self-sufficient. Durational alimony, however, is perhaps the most commonly awarded type of alimony and is usually awarded after the end of moderate-term marriages.
When is Durational Alimony Awarded?
Courts can choose when to award durational alimony, but it is used most often in divorce cases where the marriage in question was of moderate duration (i.e. it lasted more than seven, but less than 17 years). Durational alimony is awarded when permanent alimony isn’t warranted, but a lesser earning spouse still requires consistent, ongoing support for a limited period of time. Judges will only award durational alimony after assessing a number of factors, including:
- The requesting party’s need for financial support and the other spouse’s ability to provide it;
- The standard of living during the marriage;
- Whether one spouse worked less in order to provide primary childcare to the couple’s children;
- The value of the parties’ separate assets; and
- The parties’ incomes, education, and employability.
How much a party must pay in durational alimony will also be dictated by these factors.
How Long Does Durational Alimony Last?
Durational alimony can be awarded for any amount of time and in an amount that varies depending on the parties’ financial circumstances. Courts have clarified, however, that durational alimony cannot be awarded for a period of time that exceeds the length of the marriage. If, for instance, a marriage lasted for ten years, a court would not award durational alimony for longer than a ten year period. In fact, the duration would probably be much shorter.
Can Durational Alimony be Changed?
As a general rule, durational alimony isn’t subject to modification, at least as far as the duration of payments goes. Similarly, durational alimony can rarely be terminated early, unless the petitioning party can show that a real change of circumstances in the parties’ situations has made continuing the payments unjust. The amount of the payments, however, can be modified if the person requesting the change can demonstrate that he or she has undergone a substantial change in circumstances. A person who receives durational alimony can also ask the court to extend payments past the original termination date, but such a request will usually only be approved if there are exceptional circumstances that reveal an ongoing need for support.
Our Experienced Largo Alimony Lawyers are Here to Help
If you have questions about durational alimony and whether you could be entitled to receive it, or be required to pay it upon divorce, please contact Cairns Law and set up a meeting with one of our experienced Largo alimony attorneys. You can reach a member of our legal team by calling 727-683-1472 or by completing one of our online contact forms.