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Alimony lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Alimony payments can be difficult for many individuals who have recently gone through a divorce. There are often strong feelings and significant amounts of stress associated with giving regular payments to someone after a divorce, especially if the divorce process was painful. On top of these emotional issues, there are some very real financial concerns with being able to afford alimony on top of the divorce costs and child support payments if there were children in the marriage. Once the payments are ordered, not making them can have life changing consequences. For these reasons, an alimony attorney in Fort Lauderdale should be consulted to get advice about how to navigate this process without having long term financial problems. The Law Office of Verna Popo, P.A. can assist with these issues and related family law matters.

What is an alimony payment?

Alimony is money given to a spouse after a divorce to support them financially. This generally happens after lengthier marriages where one spouse earned much more than the other, or a lesser earning or unemployed spouse made contributions to the other’s career and education to help increase their income. These payments and the process to receive them are sometimes referred to as spousal support, spousal maintenance, or just maintenance payments instead of alimony.

Alimony lawyers in Fort Lauderdale may be involved in the process to get an order for alimony in place during the divorce case, modify an existing order, or address any other issues that their client may have with their obligations.

Why are alimony payments ordered?

The judge can make a determination on a case by case basis after one spouse has asked for financial support through alimony payments. As a general rule, the moving party will have to show that they actually need the financial support, and that the circumstances surrounding the marriage and the divorce warrant awarding alimony. This is usually because the parties were married for a long time, and one spouse will either not realistically be able to become financially independent, or they will require time and training to achieve some kind of financial stability. Alimony is most commonly ordered at a long term marriage where one member of the couple may have been a stay at home parent, homemaker, or had other obligations to their family that resulted in them not working much or at all, or having any meaningful chance at long term employment.

The types of alimony awarded in Florida

The state has a few different names assigned to the types of alimony payments that judges can order. Most of them are only meant to last a specific amount of time, but long term or permanent payments are possible in some circumstances. The potential types of alimony that a judge can order in Florida include permanent alimony, durational alimony, bridge the gap alimony, and rehabilitative alimony. As the name implies, permanent alimony payments can potentially last forever until conditions to terminate or modify the order are met. Rehabilitative alimony is meant to last as long as a spouse needs to get necessary job skills to become self sufficient. Bridge the gap alimony is generally for financial support for a specific timeframe during and after the divorce. Durational alimony is when a judge orders alimony payments to be made for a specific number of years or months based on a spouse’s demonstrated need for that time period. Fort Lauderdale alimony attorneys can give more specific explanations of whatever type of alimony may be relevant to a specific divorce.

Is it possible for alimony payments to end?

Florida law does outline a few situations where alimony payments will terminate. This includes the remarriage of the spouse receiving the payments, cohabitation with another person who is giving the spouse financial support, or the death of the spouse who receives alimony. The payments do not end automatically when these conditions are met. There must be formal actions through the courts with the help of an alimony attorney in Fort Lauderdale and approval by a judge before the order to pay alimony will be terminated.

Modification of alimony in Florida

The state’s alimony laws do allow payments to change in a few different circumstances. However, there needs to be specific findings and approval by a family court judge. Many of the conditions are related to sudden and unplanned changes in the couple’s financial situations. These can include a job loss, large increases in income, health emergencies, and changes in the financial needs of the spouse receiving the payments. For approval of the modification, there should be some kind of serious showing that the change is necessary due to conditions outside of the person’s control, rather than merely asking for a modification that would be more convenient. It is also more likely that an order put in place a long time before will be modified, rather than a more recent order.

Because these changes still require formal court hearings, the services of a Fort Lauderdale alimony lawyer are recommended for anyone who is seeking a modification of payments.

What happens when alimony payments are not made?

Not making alimony payments is defiance of a legally binding court order, and the consequences can be serious. The person subject to the order will be held in civil contempt by the courts, and they can be forced to make the payments. The state has a number of ways that they can try to enforce their order, which include driver’s license suspensions, wage garnishment, suspension of professional licenses, taking tax refunds, freezing bank accounts, and even sentencing the person to jail time. The only potential defense may be proving an inability to pay due to a job loss or other reductions in income.

This is why representation from a Fort Lauderdale alimony lawyer is necessary. The outstanding money will still be due, and the person who was supposed to make the payments can be assessed additional fines and attorney’s fees.

More information about alimony in Florida

Anyone who is about to go through a divorce or anyone who has questions about alimony can contact The Law Office of Verna Popo, P.A. The firm focuses on family law problems and its attorney is experienced in providing specific advice to clients who need help with alimony issues.

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