MONEY MATTERS: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO ALIMONY IN FLORIDA
Up to half of the couples in the United States end up getting divorced, and Florida has the 7th most noteworthy divorce rate.
Florida is one of the most stressed states, particularly about financial situations.
Whether it’s because of money or other factors, many cities in Florida have high divorce rates. In Live Oak, for example, the divorce rate is 23%.
Regardless of where you live, alimony is one of the fiercest divorce battles to face.
And alimony in Florida is particularly challenging to determine, mainly because there is no mathematical formula for doing so.
Getting divorced is hard enough as it is, but figuring out how the money will work between divorced couples can be even harder.
Keep reading to learn all about alimony in Florida.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is also referred to as “spousal support.” Alimony is the legal obligation to provide financial support to a spouse after a divorce.
State divorce law varies, so alimony is issued by a divorce decree that works according to state divorce law.
Alimony is much different than child support, though people sometimes confuse the 2.
Alimony is considered taxable income to the receiving spouse. Plus, it’s deducted from the income of the spouse who is paying.
Child support payments, on the other hand, aren’t deductible to the paying spouse. They aren’t taxable to the receiving spouse either.
Child support is paid. There are no tax concerns that come into play, unlike alimony.
One important thing to remember about alimony in Florida is that there is no mathematical calculation for determining an amount. Child support payments, on the other hand, are determined based on the payee’s income.
There Are Different Type of Florida Alimony
Florida law has 5 different types of alimony.
A judge will award these 5 different types in whatever combination that seems fair under the particular circumstances of that divorce.
Alimony payments can consist of periodic payments from one spouse to another or a single lump-sum payment.
Spouses can agree on different terms and conditions of alimony on their own. A spouse can also opt to give up alimony entirely, which typically occurs in exchange for another valuable type of property.
What Are the Different Types of Alimony?
As we mentioned above, there are 5 different types of spousal support in Florida.
Bridge-the-Gap alimony starts after the divorce is final, but it’s short term. The most it’ll go for is 2 years.
The purpose is to help the receiving spouse meet those temporary needs like living expenses while they wait for a home to sell or enter into an educational program to allow for better employment prospects.
Temporary alimony only lasts the duration of the divorce. It’s awarded to a spouse who needs financial support during the divorce process.
As soon as the divorce is final, temporary alimony ends.
Rehabilitative alimony exists to assist the receiving spouse in acquiring training or education that’s necessary for appropriate employment.
A spouse who requests rehabilitative alimony must submit a plan that outlines the amount of money and time they need to complete their program.
A court could award durational alimony if other types are insufficient to support a spouse’s needs.
The maximum term of durational alimony pertains to the length of the divorced couple’s marriage.
If you were married for 20 years, for example, you won’t be able to receive alimony for any longer.
When the recipient spouse’s economic needs are forecasted to be permanent, an alimony award will be permanent too.
A judge who awards permanent alimony always has to state the reasons why another form of alimony wouldn’t be fair or reasonable under the facts of the particular case.
Permanent alimony exists to provide support to a spouse who can’t be self-supporting at a standard of living that’s as close as possible to the marital standard that was set before.
What Factors Will a Judge Consider?
Every court makes decisions on requests for alimony based on many different facts of the case.
They must determine whether or not the spouse who’s requesting alimony meets the standard to prove the alimony is necessary.
The court also has to determine whether or not the wealthier spouse has the ability to pay. But, only exceptional circumstances would cause a court to award alimony if it leaves the paying spouse with significantly less income than the recipient.
When a judge finds that there is both a need and an ability to pay, they consider all relevant factors in deciding which alimony to award.
These factors include things like:
- All sources of income
- Time and expense required for education and training
- The marital standard of living
- The duration of the marriage
- The financial resources of the spouse who’s seeking maintenance
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage
- Any tax consequences of a potential alimony award
- The responsibilities each party will have for children under 18 that they have in common
If adultery occurred and it caused financial harm to either spouse, that will also be taken into account.
Alimony in Florida Works Best with Representation
Divorces are tough, no matter the circumstances. The best thing you can do if you’re going through a divorce is to hire a professional who specializes in family law.
Alimony in Florida is more complicated than in other states because there is no set formula or means for calculating what it is.
Plus, there are so many factors to consider and lots of paperwork to submit.
If you’re going through a divorce, contact us so that we can help you through the process and get you the fair results that you deserve.