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Paul E. Riffel Tampa Estate Planning Attorney

How the length of your marriage affects alimony


Alimony equals the playing field between a spouse who makes a lot of money and one who doesn’t. The two main criteria for an award of alimony are the recipient spouse’s need and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. That’s a pretty vague standard, but it’s the current standard in Florida.

Currently, Florida Statute 61.08 governs alimony—and the Florida legislature made quite a few amendments to the statute in 2010. One of the major changes was to clarify how marriages are categorized by their length: A “short-term marriage” is one that lasted less than seven years, a “moderate-term marriage” is one that lasted more than seven years but less than 17 years, and a “long-term marriage” is one that lasted 17 years or more.

These definitions have been very helpful in determining which type of alimony is appropriate.

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