Factors Determining Type and Amount of Alimony

How much do I have to pay in alimonyAs in any legal matter, you are best prepared when you know the facts.  Here is what you need to know about , the determination process and the factors taken into consideration during that process.

In most instances when a marriage is dissolved in Florida, the factors in determining alimony for a spouse becomes a significant part of divorce proceedings. Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, is in essence money paid by one spouse for the support of the other spouse during and after a divorce.

The initial consideration when settling a spouse’s alimony obligation is the determination of the ability to pay alimony. The court will examine the spouses gross income, then reduce it accordingly by deducting any and all mandatory deductions in order to determine the final net income of the spouse. It is normally at this point that a Judge will take a look at various factors to determine the type and amount of alimony awarded.  An alimony award is based on many considerations and circumstances.

In the State of Florida, types of alimony include:

  • Bridge the Gap Alimony
  • Durational Alimony
  • Permanent Alimony
  • Rehabilitative Alimony
  • Temporary Alimony

It is important to note that these various types of alimony may be awarded separately or in conjunction with another, depending on the specific circumstances involved in the divorce case. State of Florida Statute 61.08 outlines factors that must be taken into consideration by Florida Family Court judges in determining how much alimony may be awarded.  These factors include:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party
  • The financial resources of each party, including the non-marital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each
  • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employ-ability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party
  • The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common
  • The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment
  • All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party

A Florida Family Court Judge ultimately has the discretion to consider these factors, as well as any other factor necessary, to do equity and justice between the spouses. That is why alimony is the most complex and unpredictable part of the divorce process.  Of all the factors outlined, duration of the marriage is certainly one of the most important. The longer the union, the greater the likelihood of alimony.

How is alimony calculated?

Since a Florida Judge may consider whatever factors fairness and justice requires, a standard alimony calculation is not set by law and there are no specifications or standards for award amounts.

Taking a broad view of all the factors, you and/or your divorce attorney can prepare for many of them since most are matters of record. Focus your energy and efforts on your side of the case, on the factors you feel should be considered in the process, especially since the financial outcome may be influenced by your efforts in proving your case.

Finally, it is worth noting that once periodic or permanent alimony is granted, the Florida Family Court has the right to modify the award amount in the present and in the future.

If you have questions regarding Florida Alimony in the State of Florida, please contact: Eric C. Cheshire (561) 655-8844 or eric@cheshirefamilylaw.com