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Can Your Disabled Ex-Spouse Get Permanent Alimony After A Short-Term Marriage?


Florida family law courts award permanent alimony only as a last resort, when a financially disadvantaged spouse, due to age or disability, has no other source of financial support.  Most of the time, the court will only consider a request for permanent alimony if the parties were married 17 years or more.  There are always exceptions, though, so it is not a done deal that the court will reject your ex-spouse’s request for permanent alimony just because your marriage lasted less than 17 years.  In the rare instances that courts have awarded permanent alimony after short-term or medium-term marriages, it is usually in cases where the financially disadvantaged spouse suffered an illness or injury during the marriage that left them disabled and permanently unable to work.  If your spouse requests permanent alimony, or any other kind of alimony, the burden of proof is on them to show that, without financial support from you, their only other way to make ends meet will be to apply for public assistance.  If you and your spouse did agree about whether you should pay alimony and for what period of time, contact a Palm Beach County alimony lawyer.

Disability and Being Voluntarily Underemployed Are Not Mutually Exclusive

When Sharon and John married in 2013, they were both in their 40s, although neither of them was the picture of health, and they both had stable jobs, although no one would describe them as wealthy.  John received monthly disability checks from the Veterans’ Affairs because of nerve damage in his ankle and foot, but the money was not enough to sustain him, so throughout his marriage to Sharon, he worked for the United States Postal Service, although he needed to take pain medication to be able to work.  Sharon was born with a heart condition that put her at high risk for cardiovascular disease.  When the parties married, she was working as a store manager for Napa Auto Parts.  She suffered a stroke, the first of many, several months after she married John.  She continued to work after being medically cleared to return to her job, but she was laid off before the end of the year, due to a downturn in business.

Throughout the marriage, Sharon worked intermittently, never staying at the same job for more than three months.  At the divorce trial, she claimed to be unable to work, having suffered ten strokes and undergone brain surgery, as well as taking medication for migraines and anxiety.  She said that her sporadic work attendance because of her pain and dizziness led all her jobs to lay her off before the end of the probationary period.  The court did not find her testimony credible, since her jobs were seasonal by nature, and also because John entered into evidence a video of Sharon dancing in high heels at a Christmas party in 2019; Sharon had posted the video on Facebook.

Contact Us Today for Help

A Boca Raton alimony lawyer can help you if your ex-spouse requests permanent alimony even if they are able to work and you also have a disability.  Contact Schwartz | White for help with your case.



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