How is alimony determined?
Here in Florida, the calculation of alimony is designed to ensure fairness to both parties. During a divorce case, the court first assesses whether there is a need for alimony and whether the other spouse is financially capable of providing this support. This is an important first step, as it sets the stage for whether alimony will be considered at all. The person who is asking for alimony must clearly demonstrate their need for financial assistance and the other person’s ability to pay.
After establishing the need and ability to pay, the court delves into a variety of factors to determine the most appropriate type and amount of alimony. These considerations include the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, the age and health of both partners, and their financial resources and income levels. Additionally, the court takes into account each partner’s earning ability, education, vocational skills, and their potential for future self-support. The contributions each spouse made to the marriage, including domestic responsibilities and support in the other’s career development, are also important factors. If the couple has children, the court will consider parental responsibilities and the impact of these on the need for, and ability to pay, alimony.
Florida recognizes several types of alimony, such as temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational alimony. The specific type awarded depends on the unique circumstances of the marriage and divorce. For example, bridge-the-gap alimony is intended to assist a spouse with the immediate, short-term needs of transitioning from being married to being single. Rehabilitative alimony is geared towards supporting a spouse in gaining the necessary skills or education to become self-supporting. Durational alimony provides longer-term support, especially in cases where the marriage wasn’t long enough to warrant permanent support. The court weighs these types against the background of the couple’s marriage and post-divorce needs.
In determining the alimony amount, the court is careful to ensure that the paying spouse is not left with significantly less income than the recipient, unless exceptional circumstances justify such an arrangement. Alimony can be adjusted or ended if there are major changes in the circumstances of either spouse. The court may also put safeguards in place, like requiring the payment of alimony to be secured through life insurance, to ensure that these payments continue as determined. This comprehensive process is designed to provide a balanced financial outcome for both parties, reflecting the unique aspects of their marriage and separation.
With a recent change in the law, alimony calculation is a complex process that takes various factors into account. If you’re navigating a divorce and need clarity on potential alimony considerations, Shemtov Hillstrom can help. Call us at (954) 329-2222 for a consultation with our experienced trial attorneys, who can provide you with personalized guidance and support through this intricate aspect of divorce law.