How Long Do You Have to be Married to Pay Alimony?
If you are getting divorced and there is a discrepancy in financial resources between you and your spouse, you might worry that you will have to pay alimony. Alimony involves one spouse having to pay their former spouse a certain monthly amount in support for a specified period of time following the divorce. This is court-ordered support, so it is imperative that anyone ordered to pay complies with the order.
Given the financial stakes, it is natural to wonder whether you have been married long enough to have to pay alimony. You can always discuss your specific circumstances with a Brandon divorce lawyer.
Short, Medium, and Long-Term Marriages
There is no set answer for how long you must be married to pay alimony. Instead, there are general guidelines that courts follow in Florida regarding short, medium, and long-term marriages. Under Florida law:
- Short-term marriages – These are marriages that last fewer than seven years, and it is difficult to argue for alimony payments in a short-term marriage.
- Medium-term marriages – These marriages last about seven years to 17 years, and alimony is more likely in this situation. However, alimony will rarely last longer than the duration of the marriage and, often, a shorter period of time.
- Long-term marriages – A marriage is considered to be long when it exceeds 17 years. In such scenarios, a spouse might be awarded permanent alimony by the court, especially if they are older and rejoining the workforce is impractical or impossible.
The law measures the duration of a marriage from the day the spouses marry to the day one of them files for divorce. However, a spouse cannot separate and then wait a few more years to file in order to qualify for alimony. If a spouse is able to live on their own for years, they are unlikely to be awarded alimony in the divorce.
Length of the Marriage is Not the Only Factor
If you are facing a possible divorce after 15 years of marriage, you might assume that alimony is inevitable. However, the length of the marriage is far from the only factor considered in alimony cases.
First, your spouse must prove that they need the support. If your spouse works and earns a good living, the court is unlikely to order financial support for them if they can maintain a reasonable standard of living. Next, your spouse must prove that you have the means to provide support. If alimony payments would leave you unable to maintain your own standard of living, you should not have to make these payments.
Speak with a Brandon, Florida Divorce Attorney Today
When one spouse requests alimony support, it can become a highly contentious issue in a divorce case. Often, spouses go to court over this matter because they cannot reach their own agreement. Our divorce lawyers at Carman, Bevington & Finegan, P.A., handle complex alimony issues and protect our clients’ rights. Contact us online or call the office to set up a consultation.