Alimony is a series of payments made by one spouse to another, for a set value and period of time. Its purpose is to give the less affluent spouse a chance to adjust to their new lifestyle.
It is only paid if:
a) there is a significant difference between the income or living expenses of the divorcees; and
b) one divorcee can afford to pay the other.
For example, if both couples make $30,000 a year and have approximately equal expenses, no alimony will be paid. The same thing happens if one makes $20,000 a year and one makes $35,000, but the more affluent one also has to pay $15,000 more per year on medical expenses. Only when there is both a net difference in income and a demonstrated need is alimony assigned.
The length of the marriage largely determines the alimony’s duration. In Florida, a “short-term” marriage is one lasting less than 7 years; a “moderate-term,” between 7 and 17; and a “long-term,” longer than 17 years. For short and moderate-term marriages, alimony will be paid for a set amount of time and no longer than the length of your marriage. For long-term marriages, alimony could last for life.