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When Can I Stop Paying Spousal Maintenance in Florida?

Written on behalf of Sparkman Law Firm on Thursday, August 28th, 2020.

Alimony, also called spousal maintenance, is a form of financial relief that courts grant some lesser earning spouses during and after a divorce. This monthly payment helps the lesser earning spouse get back on their feet, but can be challenging to pay. If you were ordered to pay spousal support, when can you legally stop? 

3 Types of Spousal Maintenance 

Spousal maintenance is typically divided into three separate categories: 

Temporary Spousal Maintenance 

Temporary spousal maintenance is a short-lived type of alimony that is often awarded during the first stages of a divorce proceeding. This provides financial relief while the divorce terms are being finalized. 

Bridge-the-Gap Maintenance 

Bridge-the-gap support is also known as rehabilitative alimony and is ordered after temporary support ends and the divorce decree is signed. However, if the lesser earning spouse is still unable to provide for themselves, rehabilitative maintenance is often awarded. How long payments are made depends on the length of the marriage, the age of each spouse, their health, their living situation, and the income of each spouse. 

Permanent Maintenance 

In rare cases where the lesser earning spouse is unlikely to ever achieve independence, alimony may be awarded permanently. For example, if one spouse experiences a brain injury that results in permanent disability and their partner files for divorce afterward, spousal support may be awarded for the duration of the disabled spouse’s life. 

When Can You Stop Making Payments?

If you can no longer afford your support payments or you suspect you meet the criteria for your alimony to be discharged, it’s important that you pursue the cessation of your alimony legally. A judge must approve your petition, which is usually done at a hearing before you can stop making payments. Even if you have an approved reason, such as the remarriage of your spouse, you could be held in contempt of court if you stop paying alimony without a signed order from a Florida family court. 

Should You Hire a Florida Divorce Attorney?

Getting a divorce in Florida is hard work and it’s important to have a lawyer in your corner who can protect your rights and best interests under the law. Keep spousal support to a minimum and secure your future after your divorce by working with an experienced family lawyer.

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Tampa, FL 33609
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