Alimony, also called spousal support, may be awarded in Florida following dissolution proceedings to either the former wife or husband. In Florida, the Courts implement spousal support to maintain the parties living standards as evidenced during the course of the marriage. The judicial purpose of alimony is to level the playing field and eliminate any unfair economic disparities between the spouses following their divorce. To be sure, alimony is a hot button issue for one or both spouses given the emotional feelings that generally serve as a backdrop in so many dissolution cases. This is very understandable and our job at the firm is to diligently protect all of your rights when it comes to spousal support.
As stated previously, the Court may grant support to either party. Two prerequisite requirements must be met before an award of alimony may attach. First, the paying spouse, also called the “payor,” must have the “ability to pay.” Second, it must be demonstrated from the facts that the recipient former spouse has a need for support. In determining a parties need, the spouse must make a showing that he or she is unable to secure enough income to meet his or her former standard of living maintained during the course and scope of the marriage. The need for support can be extinguished if it is shown that the party seeking alimony can receive enough income from the marital distribution of assets.
Spousal support may be awarded by the Court where payments are made monthly or in one lump sum. Under Florida law, there are various forms of spousal support that can be awarded by the Court. Respectively, alimony can be classified as either permanent, rehabilitative, durational, or bridge-the-gap. In some circumstances support can be awarded in one payment called a “lump sum” distribution where the payor spouse will have to make one payment alone to the spouse in need.
The Court will consider the following factors when making a determination regarding alimony. Namely, the tribunal will determine the duration of the marriage, the standard of living established by the parties during the marriage, the finances and financial resources of both parties, the historical and potential earning capacities of the parties, each of the respective parties financial contributions during the course of the marriage, the party’s demonstrated responsibilities with a minor child or children, the real or potential tax consequences and penalties of the cumulative alimony award, and all sources of relevant income available to either person. The Court will also take into consideration and evidence adultery and domestic violence by one or both of the parties. A skilled Jacksonville divorce lawyer can help you with your alimony concerns.
In addition to the above information the Court will look into other matters when making a spousal support determination. This starts with the length of the marriage itself. In the State of Florida, a short term marriage is considered to be seven years. A middle of the road or moderate duration marriage is considered greater than seven years but less than seventeen years in length. And finally, a long term union between the spouses is considered to be greater than the term of seventeen years. The determination by the Court will play a factor under Florida law and to what type and amount of alimony may be awarded to one of the parties.