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What is alimony and how does it affect you?

When you’re planning on going through a divorce, there are some things you need to know about alimony. Alimony, which is also known as spousal support, is designed to help you get back on your feet. If you were the primary care provider at home for your children, for instance, you may not have been working. Being out of the workplace means that after a divorce, you may need to retrain or find a job, so alimony helps support you while you do so.

In 2013, alimony laws were reformed. The court-ordered payments generally are paid as a lump sum, as temporary alimony or as permanent alimony. With temporary alimony, there is an end date to the payments, but with a permanent alimony, the payments could go on for a lifetime. With alimony reforms, many times these alimony awards are limited, so women or men seeking the payments won’t be able to receive as much as they may have in the past.

If a judge decides to deviate from the guidelines provided by the state, he’ll have to explain why in a detailed document. Because that’s very time consuming, many judges simply adjust to reformed limits, but that can make it harder for people seeking alimony to get as much as they want and need. In Florida, Senate Bill 718 was introduced and passed, but it was later vetoed by the governor.

The bill, before the veto, banned permanent alimony and suggested that temporary alimony should be as little as possible for as short a time as possible. This could have led to complications as people without the support needed would go without any kind of assistance from their ex-spouses, who they may have supported for some time themselves.

Source: Forbes, “What Divorcing Women Need To Know About Alimony ‘Reform’,” Jeff Landers, accessed June 26, 2015

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