The main topic of many divorce cases, next to custody arrangements, is alimony.
In the heat of divorce proceedings, spouses can feel as though their alimony requirements are punitive in nature. It’s important to keep in mind that alimony is not meant as a punishment for the paying spouse, rather, it is a way to help transition out of married life in a way that is fair for the individual who is in a financially compromised position.
If you are just beginning alimony discussions with your legal counsel or are unhappy with your current results, keep reading to understand how the florida alimony process works, what Courts look for when making their decision, and how to find a lawyer who will advocate for your rights to a fair settlement.
Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, is a way to even the playing field between spouses and afford them both equal financial stability in the years following their divorce. Alimony is normally paid for over a set period of time and can be given to either spouse based on financial need– the spouse receiving alimony risking being at a financial disadvantage without it.
In Florida however, not all alimony is created equal. In fact, there are several different types to choose between and discuss with your legal counsel.
Alimony in Florida is one of the most varied of all the states, having 5 different maintenance distinctions depending on the needs and means of the spouses involved.
Also known as pendent lite, this type of alimony is meant to provide support to the opposing spouse during the divorce proceedings. This type of alimony is terminated on entrance of final proceedings, either leaving the other receiving spouse without support or with the support agreed upon in the dissolution papers.
Also known as transitional alimony, this is a general term used for maintenance given to help an ex-spouse transition from married to single life. Often the amount of alimony agreed on is enough to cover bills and general life expenses.
This type of alimony is meant to provide an ex-spouse with assistance while they take education or training coursework to regain skills needed for a re-entry into the workforce to support themselves as a single individual. To qualify for this type of alimony, individuals must set forth a specific course of action and the time it would take time to complete.
Most commonly awarded to couples who were in short-term marriages (7 years or less), durational alimony is only active for a predetermined period of time. Furthermore, the length of durational alimony cannot exceed the total length of the marriage.
Permanent alimony is most often awarded to spouses who have been in a marriage for over 17 years. Paying the alimony will last, in these cases, until there is substantial change to the receiving spouses living arrangements (such as remarriage) or upon the death of either individual.
Determining alimony is a tricky business that varies from case to case. While there are several online “alimony calculators,” it is never wise to rely on these. Instead, educate yourself about the main factors that affect your alimony prospects.
Florida separates its marriages into three categories:
The longer the marriage, the more likely it is that alimony will be awarded.
Alimony is calculated by keeping the marital quality of life in mind. Generally, alimony rates will be sufficient for the receiving spouse to continue on living in a comparable way after divorce as they did before.
In order to help both spouses have access to a similar standard of living, income disparity will be taken into account. This will determine which spouse will be awarded alimony in addition to how great their reward is. For couples where the income disparity is greater, the higher earning of the two can expect to pay more in alimony.
Normally a higher consideration in transitional or rehabilitative alimony, sometimes a court will order payments be made until the receiving spouse finds suitable employment. Note that the spouse must be able to prove good faith attempts at finding employment in these situations.
Due to the several other earning-related qualifiers that are affected by age, older spouses will often be eligible for more or longer alimony payments than their younger counterparts.
In cases where domestic violence is present, the courts will order pendent lite orders for the victim spouse to have financial security during the proceedings.
When spouses are unable to come to an agreement on settlement terms for alimony, the court will make the final decision.
When a marriage results in children, they are the responsibility of both parents. Because of this, alimony and child support are considered separately. This provision sometimes makes individuals feel like they are paying twice for spousal support. This is not the case. In fact, in divorces where child care costs are very high, there will often be lower monthly alimony demands as the Court understands a main expense for most families are their children and not their spouses.
Divorce laws in Florida are complex and its recommended individuals consult and use experienced legal counsel to make a difficult situation more manageable.
Dave Roy Law, located conveniently in West Palm Beach, can handle all your divorce needs. Staffed with experienced lawyers, there is very little we have not seen. If you are looking to begin your divorce proceeding, start on the right foot by contacting us at 561-729-0095 to schedule an appointment.