Alimony is a legal obligation to provide financial support to a spouse; it is often very complex and a high point of contention in dissolution of marriage proceedings. At Rebecca L. Palmer Law Group, we have the experience and resources required to serve as your staunch advocate in pursuit of alimony that you’re entitled to in a divorce.
How is it determined?
In order for alimony to be awarded, there must be a determination of whether:
- Either spouse has an actual need for alimony or maintenance.
- Whether either spouse has an ability to pay alimony or maintenance.
Once both factors have been met, a court may grant alimony, whether it be in the form of bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent alimony, or a combination of these forms.
Does the length of a marriage affect alimony?
The length of a marriage is just one of many factors that a court will consider in determining whether to grant alimony. When considering the length of marriage in determining whether to grant alimony, a marriage will be deemed as one of three categories:
- Short-term marriage, which is marriage with a length of 0-7 years.
- Moderate-term marriage, which is a marriage with a length of 7 – 17 years.
- Long-term marriage, which is a marriage with a length of 17 or more years.
The appropriate form of alimony will depend on the duration of a marriage.
How does a court determine how much and what type of alimony to grant?
For a court to determine the appropriate form and amount of alimony to award to a spouse, and pursuant to §61.08, Florida Statutes (2017), a court will consider factors such as:
- The standard of living during a marriage.
- The length of a marriage.
- The age, physical condition, and emotional condition of each spouse.
- Each spouse’s financial resources, including distributions of non-marital and marital assets and liabilities.
- The earning capacities, educational levels, skills, and employability of each spouse in addition to necessary time for either spouse to obtain necessary education and/or training to find employment.
- Each spouse’s contribution to their marriage.
- Each spouse’s responsibilities to any minor children born of their marriage.
- Tax treatment and consequences of an alimony award.
- All sources of income for each spouse.
- Any other factor that is relevant or that would be equitable.
Pursuant to §61.08, Florida Statutes (2017), “[t]he award of alimony may not leave the payer with significantly less net income than the net income of the recipient unless there are written findings of exceptional circumstance. This applies to an initial award of alimony as well as any future modifications.