Temporary Spousal Support
Alimony is a form of financial support that a higher-income spouse pays to a lower-income spouse for a specific time. While it is usually thought of as payments made after a divorce is final, alimony can be temporarily awarded during the proceedings. Temporary alimony payments end once the divorce decree is signed.
Several factors determine temporary alimony awards. Both spouses' incomes are certainly considered, but courts also consider the following:
- Paying spouse's ability to pay and available resources
- Payee spouse's level of need and available resources
- Standard of living during the marriage
- The health of the parties
- Any other important factors
Because Florida has comprehensive alimony laws, spouses who want to request alimony or avoid paying alimony need to work with a skilled family law attorney.
Florida Temporary Spousal Support Attorney
If you have questions concerning temporary spousal support, contact Bacchus Law Firm. We understand that your family’s well-being is very important to you, and that is why we will stand by you throughout every step of the process. Our highly qualified family law attorneys can provide valuable advice, and act as your guide to an achievable satisfying outcome.
Bacchus Law Firm accepts temporary spousal support cases in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, East Naples, or LaBelle, Florida. Contact our firm today at (954) 500-5555 today to schedule a free consultation.
- Temporary Spousal Support in Florida
- Court-Ordered Temporary Alimony Awards
- Temporary Alimony's Impact After The Divorce
- Mediation For Temporary Alimony
- Additional Resources
Judges have much discretion to determine if and how much one spouse should pay the other spouse. Every claim for temporary alimony is unique, and some cases are more straightforward than others. Consider a situation where a spouse with a considerably higher income has contributed more financial resources to the marriage than a lower or no-earning spouse who moved out of the house at the beginning of the divorce. A court might find temporary alimony appropriate so that the lower-earning spouse can pay for housing. On the other hand, if the lower-earning spouse moves in with a friend or family member and has minimal or no rent payments, the court might award a lower or no monthly payment.
Standard of living is a factor that heavily applies to some families but can have minimal impact on others. Often, middle-class families that include spouses with similar paying, full-time jobs are far more likely to experience a similar standard of living after separating. While it depends on each couple's situation, spouses with similar incomes are less likely to show need or a problem with an ability to pay. However, a judge might consider a temporary alimony award if one spouse moves out of the home and has a rent payment.
Although child support is separate, temporary alimony determinations can be impacted by the needs of any shared children. These situations are more common when one spouse has spent several years of the marriage caring for children or they are parents of a child with special needs who requires more caregiving. If one spouse has limited work availability due to the needs of a child, sometimes the other spouse will help the caregiving spouse meet financial needs.
A spouse who wants to receive alimony before the divorce usually has the burden of proving need and other supporting circumstances favoring alimony payments. Because this spouse is making the request, the requesting spouse must file a temporary support motion and provide evidence supporting why alimony is needed. Although the other spouse does not have to prove why alimony is unnecessary, this spouse can provide evidence that supports an inability to pay or attempt to discredit the other spouse's alleged need. The award will be part of a temporary order if a judge orders alimony.
Unlike most other court orders, temporary orders cannot be appealed. If one spouse does not like or disagrees with the order, both spouses still must follow the order and cannot ask a higher court to review the decision. However, temporary orders can still be changed if the spouses' circumstances have changed.
Modification of an order requires the spouse who wants the modification to prove how circumstances have changed. For example, suppose the paying spouse was ordered to pay $1200 per month, mainly because the paying spouse had a higher income. If the paying spouse's hours were cut at work or there was a job loss, the paying spouse can prove there is no longer a personal ability to pay the other spouse. On the other hand, perhaps the paying spouse learns that the other spouse received a promotion at work. The paying spouse can prove that the receiving spouse no longer has a need or has a lessened need for alimony.
It is also possible for a receiving spouse to request a modification for alimony, but this is less common. Imagine a situation where the receiving spouse is paid monthly payments that help but do not adequately meet financial needs. If the receiving spouse learns that the paying spouse received a job promotion that substantially increased income, the receiving spouse could prove that the paying spouse can now pay more.
Modifications are tricky. Because Florida law leaves substantial room for spouses to litigate alimony, it is important to work with an attorney with a strong knowledge of the law and the court system.
Temporary alimony remains in effect until the divorce decree or other court order says otherwise. At that point, the temporary order that awarded alimony is vacated, and the paying spouse's obligations end. However, the divorce decree can still require the paying spouse to continue paying alimony. The actual amount and length of time of payments in the divorce decree can be considerably different. While temporary alimony payments are likely to be the same monthly payments, payments after divorce can be in a lump sum, for a short or long period, or be gradually reduced over a few years. When spouses consider temporary or post-divorce alimony, they should not become attached to numbers in the temporary order or believe those numbers are an accurate prediction of what finances will look like after the divorce.
Although spouses can heavily clash over alimony in court, mediation provides spouses with a different, more peaceful approach to resolving alimony disputes. Mediation involves a neutral, third-party person trained in family law issues who has had additional mediation training. The mediator facilitates the discussion, provides suggestions, and helps spouses reach compromises. Although mediation is often used to address issues that will impact parties after divorce, some spouses attempt mediation to resolve shorter-term issues if they expect their divorce to be lengthy. For example, suppose spouses expect to have a trial about several issues, but the trial isn't scheduled for five months. If spouses can mutually agree to a temporary arrangement, they can save considerable time and money and avoid the stress of going to court.
Although it is true that mediation is not a guarantee for spouses who want to resolve disputes, spouses are often more willing to negotiate when they know the result is temporary. During the COVID-19 pandemic, courts aggressively pushed for parties to mediate their disputes, whether temporary or long-term. Courts have become overburdened with cases, and getting on a court schedule can be more difficult. Many spouses have chosen to mediate because the results are faster, which is particularly important for temporary arrangements.
Florida Alimony Statute – The Florida Legislature website provides the rules that guide courts in making alimony decisions, including the factors considered for a post-divorce alimony award.
Office of Family Courts – The Florida Courts website provides information about common family law issues, including court forms, self-help information, child support, and many others.
Modifying Court Orders – Florida law outlines specific requirements for spouses who want to modify an order, whether temporary or in a divorce decree.
Florida Temporary Spousal Support Lawyer | Broward County, FL
If you believe that you are eligible for temporary spousal support, it is very important that you speak with a skilled family law attorney in Florida. At Bacchus Law Firm, our lawyers have extensive experience with all types of alimony and alimony cases in the state of Florida. We can help you through what is probably a very difficult time for you and your family.
Seek the legal counsel you need today. Call (954) 500-5555 to schedule a free consultation with Bacchus Law Firm. We accept cases in Palm Beach County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Hendry County, or Collier County.