Financial support, alimony or other forms of spousal support are often serious issues that can complicate a divorce. It’s not unusual for one party to be in a superior financial position than the other. There are many reasons why this happens. One party could’ve forgone their education or professional development to support the pursuits of the other. One party could’ve decided that it was more important to work within the home and care for the children to ensure that the kids’ education and emotional needs are met. When a couple decides to divorce, one spouse will usually require financial support, either temporary and/or rehabilitative, to help them cover expenses and reestablish themselves. Sometimes, a party requires ongoing support that is permanent in nature because of the length of the marriage, the quality of life enjoyed during the marriage and the parties’ respective ages at the time of separation.
Florida courts look at the financial circumstances of each spouse and will make an appropriate award of alimony or spousal support. The judge has significant discretion in decided how much alimony to award, if any. The courts will consider many factors in deciding whether alimony or spousal support is appropriate. The most important thing in getting the right alimony or spousal support award is hiring an experience lawyer who knows how to properly investigate the finances of the other party, how to determine if they are hiding assets or are willfully underemployed. The right representation is the difference between a great deal, a good deal and a bad deal.
How will the judge decide if I get alimony or spousal support?
In Florida, there are several types of alimony. There is temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational and permanent alimony. A judge can award any combination of the several types of alimony in a divorce case. The judge will look at the following factors in determining what kind of alimony to award and how much:
- The standard of living of the parties during the marriage;
- The length of the marriage
- The age, mental and physical condition of the parties;
- The educational level and professional experience of the parties;
- The potential of each party to earn significant income after the dissolution of the marriage;
- The contribution of each party during the marriage
- The parental responsibilities of each party during and after the marriage;
- The taxable income of each party;
- Additional sources of income available to each party (i.e., inheritance, property, etc.)
- Any other factor that the judge finds relevant and informative.
How do I know if I qualify for alimony?
As mentioned above, there are several factors that go into determining whether a party qualifies for alimony, and if so, how much. In Florida, marriages are divided into short term, intermediate and long term. A short term marriage is less than seven years; an intermediate marriage is 7-17 years and a long term marriage is 17 years or more. Generally speaking, there is a presumption that in a short term marriage that neither party is entitled to alimony, and in a long term marriage, there is a presumption that an award of alimony is appropriate and necessary. These presumptions can be, and are often overcome, by evidence like earning potential, lifestyle during the marriage, whether the parties have children, the debts incurred during the marriage and other relevant factors. Alimony is not a one size fits all approach. It is very much a case by case analysis that takes into consideration the unique situation of each couple divorcing.
Whether you think you are entitled to alimony or not, whether your spouse is a multimillionaire or works a regular job, it is important that you contact an experienced Miami Alimony/Spousal Support Attorney to do an intake of your case and provide you with the proper advice as it relates to your alimony award or potential alimony payment(s).