Is Alimony a Lifetime Sentence?
Thursday, October 10, 2019
Written by Norman A. Green
Is Alimony a Lifetime Sentence?
The court takes many factors into consideration when deciding when and if an award of alimony is appropriate. Gender plays less of a role today than in eras past, where oftentimes, both spouses worked and earned an income. Even when maintenance is granted, it is not necessarily a permanent arrangement.
“There are many types of alimony that could be awarded and some are short term. Bridge-the-Gap alimony is meant to assist the recipient spouse in the transitional period immediately after the divorce, and terminates after no more than two years. Likewise, Rehabilitative Alimony is awarded to assist with a particular need, such as vocational training,” said Norman A. Green, Senior Partner at Green, Metcalf and Lazan Attorneys at Law of Vero Beach, FL.
For purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater. The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.
Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony.
Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration if such an award is appropriate. Permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony.
“Factors such as the recipient spouse’s financial assets, physical health and if they are the custodial parent all play a part. Is their situation permanent? Consideration is given to whether the spouse seeking support contributed significantly to their ex’s ability to get an education and/or build their career. It’s an intricate puzzle with a lot of pieces. My job in representing my client is twofold: to set clear expectations and ensure the most equitable arrangement possible,” Green said.
Norman A. Green is the founder and a partner of Green, Metcalf & Lazan - Attorneys At Law. He has over 40 years of experience in the practice fields of criminal defense and family law (divorce, child custody, child support, paternity, modifications of existing orders, prenuptial agreements and alimony cases).