You probably never thought you were going to get divorced when you get married, so you have probably never thought about alimony before, much less how to get it and when you can get it. But if you are a spouse with at least some financial dependence upon your spouse, if only in the form of shared expenses for housing and/or rent and utilities, and you suddenly find yourself without that spouse around to share income and expenses, then you are going to want to learn about alimony options in Florida as soon as possible and begin to take the steps necessary for you to receive it. More information on alimony (sometimes called spousal support) in Florida can be found here, but in this article, we will focus on your ability to get alimony as soon as possible through temporary alimony.
What is Temporary Alimony?
You may have heard that Florida courts award four different types of alimony – 1) Bridge-the-Gap, 2) Rehabilitative, 3) Durational, and 4) Permanent – but there is actually a fifth type of alimony as well: Temporary alimony.
While the other four types of alimony are awarded at the end of a divorce proceeding to provide for an ex-spouse’s needs after the marriage, the purpose of temporary alimony is to provide support for a spouse during the period between when the divorce proceeding is initiated and when it is concluded. Because this period can last for many months, the law recognizes that some spouses will need support via alimony to adjust to life on their own and pay bills before a final alimony award is made. Note that even if you do not receive an alimony award as part of the final divorce order, you still may be eligible to receive temporary alimony.
How to Obtain Temporary Alimony in Florida
To obtain temporary alimony, your attorney should make a motion requesting temporary alimony as soon as possible after the filing of the divorce action, regardless of whether you or your spouse was the one who filed for divorce. In the motion, you and/or your attorney will need to present evidence for why temporary alimony is justified.
Keep in mind that, because you are asking for alimony at the start of the case rather than at the end of the case, the judge will know very little about the finances and needs of you and your spouse, and so the purpose of the motion will be to demonstrate to the judge exactly why temporary alimony is justified in your case. Factors that a judge will consider in granting temporary alimony include:
- Your standard of living during the marriage compared to your standard of living now
- Your financial needs
- The other spouse’s financial needs and ability to pay
- The length of the marriage (the longer the marriage, the higher the likelihood of an award)
The other spouse may file his or her own reply to your motion arguing against an award, but you may also ask the court to award alimony “ex parte” (without the other spouse present in court) if there is the threat of domestic abuse. The judge will then decide whether to award temporary alimony, which generally lasts until the divorce becomes final, at which time another form of alimony may be awarded. Keep in mind that if a spouse is paying you voluntarily (without a court order) during a divorce, those payments cannot be enforced unless you get an alimony order from the court.
Legal Help in Your Florida Divorce Action
No matter where you are in the divorce process in Florida, from initial consideration to ongoing litigation, The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A. in Miami can help. Contact our office today to set up a consultation with a trusted and caring family law attorney.