Sometimes, individuals who are separated, and in need of help, still do not desire or are not ready for a divorce. Pursuant to Florida law, a spouse can seek an award of spousal support, or child support, without seeking a divorce. § 61.09, Florida Statute, provides:
If a person having the ability to contribute to the maintenance of his or her spouse and support of his or her minor child fails to do so, the spouse who is not receiving support may apply to the court for alimony and for support for the child without seeking dissolution of marriage, and the court shall enter an order as it deems just and proper.”
§ 61.09, Fla. Stat.
From a plain reading of the statute, there is no requirement that either party be at fault to obtain a support award, and the parties do not even necessarily have to be separated. In order to seek alimony without a dissolution of marriage, there are a few important considerations. First, support has to be needed by the spouse requesting it, and it has to have been denied by the defendant. If the Court finds that the respondent is in fact providing necessary support, it may decide to dismiss the petition but it can reserve jurisdiction to enter an award at a later time, when it becomes necessary. While there is no 6-month residency requirement for seeking support, unlike a dissolution of marriage action, the Court must still obtain personal jurisdiction over the proposed respondent. While the concept of alimony unconnected with dissolution of marriage is more fluid and is based upon need for support and ability to pay support, there is far less judicial discretion in awarding child support, which is nearly always calculated pursuant to the Florida Child Support Guidelines (with the possibility of deviation).
If you need assistance with a Florida child support or alimony matter, contact our office at 305.222.7921 or [email protected], immediately, to schedule a consultation!
Robert Stone Jeffrey, Esq., is an attorney admitted to the Florida Bar in 2010, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and the Supreme Court of the United States. Robert has experience handling complex and high asset family law disputes, and has authored chapters in various publications relating to Florida family law, as well as civil and commercial litigation. Robert has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell (2017 and 2018), as “Peer Rated For Highest Level of Professional Excellence.” Robert was awarded a 10/10 rating by Avvo.com, and various client reviews can be accessed through that platform. See https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/33134-fl-robert-jeffrey-3341362.html. More information about Robert can be found at www.RSJLegal.com
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