Few words send chills down the spine of a higher-earning spouse in Miami more than “permanent alimony.” F.S. § 61.08 provides that when a couple has been married for seventeen years, there is a rebuttable presumption that permanent alimony should be set to shield the lower-income spouse from financial disaster following a divorce. However, it is critical to understand what the law actually means by breaking it down.
First, the Statute contains many alimony-related provisions, including:
● How a judge decides on an alimony amount
● How the length of marriage influences the duration of alimony
● The many types of alimony available to a lower-income spouse
● What criteria the court should take into account when awarding alimony, and how much should be awarded
● When alimony should be modified or terminated
One of the first things a Miami judge considers when deciding on alimony is how long the parties have been married. While the Statute refers to a “threshold” of seventeen years, this is not a strict rule. The parties’ ages, employability, and overall financial arrangements and circumstances will be reviewed. So if you have been married for sixteen years and your spouse became disabled during the marriage, a divorce under 17 years could result in permanent alimony consideration. In a legal determination, the length of the marriage and the financial freedom of each spouse is critical.
So, if you have been married for seventeen years, will you have to pay alimony for the rest of your life? Certainly not! Every case is unique. F.S. § 61.08 provides the court with a stripped-down legal framework for determining the fate of your case — but reviewing the facts of your case with a top Miami family lawyer is important.
Experienced divorce lawyers are well-versed with statutory provisions, current legal trends in Miami and the greater South Florida area, and relevant case law. This means that they can advise you on effectively planning your case strategy. Speaking with an experienced divorce attorney will not only provide you with information about potential outcomes for your case but will also provide you with ways to lower your risk of having to pay permanent alimony.
Once the court decides that there is a rebuttable presumption of permanent alimony, you have the opportunity to contest it by producing proof that either you do not have the means to pay or your ex does not need alimony to support themselves.
Preparation and evidence collection are critical components of a successful alimony avoidance case. Having a divorce attorney in Miami, FL, with the necessary skills and understanding of available resources and legal arguments on your side will ensure that you successfully minimize your permanent alimony risk.