10 Factors for Determining Alimony in a Florida Divorce
There have been many efforts to modify Florida law on alimony in divorce, the most recent being a bill in the House that sought to eliminate permanent alimony and change the factors used to calculate whether a party is entitled to alimony if so for how long and how much a party may be entitled to receive. The measure was abandoned, no doubt in part because of lawmakers switching focus and limiting operations because of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. As such, the method of determining alimony currently remains the same. A judge must first make a specific factual determination on whether support is appropriate, and then follow the statute regarding the amount and duration.
Whether you’re the party seeking spousal support or may have to pay it, you should work with a Florida divorce and alimony lawyer to improve the chances of a favorable outcome. It’s also important to review some of the factors that courts apply when making a decision.
Statutory Factors Regarding Alimony: After determining that it is appropriate for one party to receive alimony, a judge turns to the statute. Every case is different, since the process requires a balancing test of 10 factors. In sum, the court reviews:
- The duration of the marriage;
- The standard of living the parties established and enjoyed during the marriage;
- Each party’s age and general well-being;
- Income and financial resources, including nonmarital assets and what each party takes from division of marital assets;
- How the division of property may impact tax considerations, since one party may incur significant tax liability for retaining the marital home or interests in a business;
- Each party’s education and skills, which are important because of the implications for employment opportunities and ability to be self-supporting;
- Responsibilities regarding child care and custody; and,
- Contributions each party made to the marriage, including services for homemaking, child care, and assisting the other in building a career.
There is one catch-all in the statute, allowing the judge to consider any other factors that would serve the interests of equity. Generally, this means fairness in making a determination on the amount of alimony.
Other Notable Considerations Regarding Spousal Support: You should also keep in mind that a court may award alimony in periodic payments or as a lump sum, often as part of a decision on the division of property in a Florida divorce. Plus, you may consider an option to take the court out of the determination on spousal support entirely: It IS possible and encouraged to handle the topic of alimony by agreement with your spouse with the assistance of an attorney. Traditional methods can, but more often Collaborative Law results in a flexible and arrangement.
Get Customized Information from a Dade City, FL Divorce and Alimony Attorney
If you’re considering how to address the topic of spousal support in divorce and want more information on the law, please contact a Dade City alimony lawyer at The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. You can call 352-567-0055 or go online to set up a consultation. We’re happy to provide details on the 10 statutory alimony factors, and we can guide you through the negotiation process if you’re looking to resolve the issue by agreement.