When one spouse is financially dependent on another, divorce can cause a major hardship for the dependent spouse. It could be years before they can earn a wage high enough to support themselves.
Some people might stay in abusive or toxic relationships just because they worry about the financial implications of a divorce. Florida tries to give dependent spouses the ability to divorce by offering them alimony or spousal maintenance in certain cases.
Whether you support your ex by paying spousal support or want to know if you qualify to receive support, understanding how long alimony payments will last is crucial knowledge.
The support order likely explains when payments end
When the court orders alimony as part of a divorce decree or immediately after someone files as a temporary stopgap, the order will usually have information about when payments should end.
The order may contain a specific date or end after the spouse receiving the payments meets certain criteria. Either spouse can potentially file to modify the order and end alimony if the situation changes and justifies terminating support. If the spouse receiving maintenance payments remarries, the periodic support payment will likely end when they marry. Beyond that specific rule, the language of the order determines its length.
The length of your marriage affects spousal maintenance orders
When determining how long spousal maintenance should last and how much it should be, Florida family courts consider numerous factors. The length of the marriage is one of the more critical variables.
Those who have been married for less than seven years had a short-term marriage in the eyes of the law and will generally have a hard time requesting permanent alimony. Shorter marriages usually result in rehabilitative alimony intended to help one spouse reach a point where they can earn enough to live independently.
Moderate-length marriages that last between seven and 17 years may result in temporary alimony orders or occasionally in permanent alimony if the situation involves a special needs child or a spouse with severe health issues. However, typically only those who have had a marriage that qualifies as a long-term marriage because it lasted for more than 17 years can request permanent alimony.
Whether you need to request maintenance for yourself or ask for a modification stopping it because your ex remarried, verifying the terms of the order and how the law applies to your situation can help you better advocate for yourself.