Effective July 1, 2010, the Florida alimony statute was substantially amended. The amendments applied to all additional wards of alimony entered after July 1, 2010, and modifications of such wards. In any divorce preceding the court has several forms of alimony at its disposal. The court may grant alimony to either party, which may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational or permanent in nature, or any combination of these forms of alimony. Before alimony can be decided by the court, the court must first determine equitable distribution. The award of alimony is discretionary with the court. Spousal support requires two separate determinations: (1) entitlement and (2) amount. In order for the court to determine entitlement to alimony the court must determine if one party has a need in the other party has the ability to pay. In determining the proper type and amount of alimony, the court must consider the enumerated factors in the alimony law. What follows is a discussion of one specific form of alimony, rehabilitative alimony.Rehabilitative Alimony
The new alimony statute amendment effective July 1, 2010 provides that rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support to either (1) the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or (2) the acquisition of education, training, work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.Rehabilitative Plan
In order to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan which is included as part of an order awarding ability to develop. The party who is seeking rehabilitative alimony must establish a retraining plan, the object of rehabilitation, the cost of the plan, what is necessary to complete the plan, and how the plan is workable to make the party self-supporting.Tax Treatment and Consequences of Alimony
With the new law the court must now consider tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, non-deductible payment when determining the proper type and amount of alimony or maintenance. The court must consider all sources of income available to each party, including income available to either party through investments of any assets held by that party. The Ward of alimony may not leave the payer would significantly less income than the net income of the recipient unless there are written findings of exceptional circumstances.Termination
The award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon the completion of the rehabilitative plan. The statutory amendments do not address whether rehabilitative alimony terminates on the death remarriage of a party. Prior to the amendments the courts ruled that rehabilitative alimony may survive a party’s remarriage.Contact a West Palm Beach Rehabilitative Alimony Attorney
If you are involved in a divorce proceeding, it may be important to determine whether rehabilitative alimony is appropriate. It is very important that you consult with a highly knowledgeable and experienced alimony attorney. For more information about rehabilitative alimony and other forms of alimony that may be granted by the court, call an experienced West Palm Beach alimony attorney at (561) 833-2772 or contact us online for a consultation.