Can You Secure Alimony Payments After the Payer Spouse’s Death?
Alimony payments provide financial support to ensure that the lower-earning spouse can maintain the standard of living established during her or his marriage with the payer spouse.
But, as you may know, under Florida’s family law, the higher-earning spouse’s obligation to pay spousal support automatically terminates upon the death of either spouse. Life can be unpredictable, and no one is immortal, which means there is always the risk that you, as the spouse receiving alimony, could end up without those payments to support your basic needs in the event of your former spouse’s death.
That is why Florida courts can order the payer spouse to provide security for alimony payments after they pass away. However, doing so requires your Orlando alimony attorney to convince the court that you have a need for spousal support security.
Factors That Affect Alimony Security in Florida
Florida courts have the legal authority to order the payer spouse to secure spousal support payments “to the extent necessary to protect the award,” as stated in Florida Statutes § 61.08(3).
When it comes to ordering alimony security, Florida courts look for the following factors that indicate the receiver’s need for extending alimony payments beyond the life of the payer spouse:
- The poor health, medical conditions, advanced age, or low employment skills of the spouse receiving spousal support;
- The lack of financial resources of the receiver;
- The abundance of income and unencumbered assets of the higher-earning spouse;
- The lack of support responsibilities of the payer spouse (in other words, the spouse paying alimony does not have to pay for their former spouse’s medical expenses); and
- The payer spouse’s ability to purchase life insurance considering his or her health and age.
Payer Spouse’s Potential Sources of Alimony Security
So, if a Florida court ordered a payer spouse to secure an alimony award, how does that spouse continue making alimony payments following his or her death?
Florida law recognizes several types of potential sources of spousal support security, including:
- Buying or maintaining a life insurance policy to secure the alimony award;
- Using suitable assets by attaching a lien on some of the payer spouse’s assets (however, the lien must be tailored exclusively to the alimony obligation);
- Placing assets in a trust for the benefit of the lower-earning spouse (as a result, the trustee would be ordered to make periodic payments to the spouse receiving alimony after the trustee’s death); or
- Acquiring an annuity from a commercial source for the benefit of the spouse receiving spousal support.
Does Florida Law Prohibit Alimony After the Payer Spouse’s Death?
Generally, Florida law prohibits extending alimony obligations beyond the death of either spouse unless the order has been secured through a life insurance policy, trust, or annuity.
When alimony is secured, the obligation to pay does not rest on the spouse paying spousal support. Instead, the insurance company, trustee, or another entity responsible for funding the payments carries the obligation to pay.
Since the obligation to pay alimony is transferred from the payer spouse to the appropriate entity, it is lawful to continue receiving spousal support after the payer spouse’s death despite the fact that Florida law prohibits post-mortem alimony.
Contact our Orlando alimony attorney to convince the court to order the payer spouse to secure the spousal support award. Contact the Donna Hung Law Group to discuss your options. Call at 407-999-0099 to review your circumstances. In the meantime, check out our 9 tips to successfully negotiate alimony with your ex-spouse.