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Is 7 year marriage or less considered short-term marriage when deciding alimony?

Generally a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years. The duration of marriage is an important factor in the process of determining whether alimony is justified and the amount of said alimony award. Generally, in short-term marriages, permanent alimony is not granted unless there is clear evidence that the marriage and divorce directly lead to inequity in a party’s financial positions.

There is no clear line determining what is a short-term marriage and what is a long term marriage. F.S. 61.08 (4) addresses the issue of marriage length stating “for the purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a

  • short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years
  • a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years
  • a long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years of greater.

” Notice the phrase “rebuttable presumption,” which has been the cause for many conflicting trial court rulings.

There is no guarantee as to how the court will classify a marriage and what effect this will have on an alimony award.

However, in practice, in Palm Beach County divorces, a long-term marriage tends to be followed by a larger permanent alimony award.