Many factors affect Florida alimony payments. At the Kramer Law Firm, we understand that the role alimony plays in divorce is extremely important for both spouses. We are here to protect your rights, whether as our client you are to be the payor or the recipient of alimony.
First the court will determine whether either party actually needs alimony, and whether either party can pay alimony. If the court concedes that both scenarios are valid, the judge will consider all of the following factors in their determination of Florida alimony payments.
- The standard of living maintained during the marriage – How do the parties to the divorce live? What is their lifestyle? The court will examine the value of the home, cars, and other valuable possessions, as well at the couple’s recreational lifestyle. The higher the standard of living, the greater chance of Florida alimony awarded, especially in long-term marriages.
- The length of the marriage – Generally, the longer the marriage the more alimony will be awarded. Permanent alimony is usually only awarded for a long-term marriage. Florida divorce law views duration of marriage as follows:
Short term marriage: Less than 7 years
Moderate term marriage: more than 7 but less than 17 years
Long term marriage: more than 17 years
- The age and physical and mental condition of each spouse – If a spouse is older and has health problems or is disabled, they may have a better chance of being awarded alimony than someone who is younger and in good health.
- The financial resources of each spouse, including both marital and non-marital assets – Florida alimony is based on a spouse’s need of support and the ability of the other spouse to pay support. The judge will consider all financial resources such as trust funds that disperse income to a spouse, and a spouse’s pre-marriage business holdings as factors in Florida alimony.
- The earning capacities, work experience, education, job skills, and employability of each spouse – This point examines when a spouse is not working, does that spouse have the ability to work – and is often considered with regard to rehabilitative alimony. An example is a spouse that did not complete their education and does not currently hold a job. With vocational training or further education, that spouse could become gainfully employed and independent.
- The contribution of each spouse to the marriage, such as services given in homemaking, raising children, or education and career building of the other party – Many spouses’ contributions to a marriage may not be directly financial, yet their actions and marital performance provided significant additions and improvements to the marriage and the family. Examples are: a homemaker who stayed home to raise the children; a wife or husband who supported their spouse through school; a husband who left his job to relocate with his wife when she was transferred to a new job.
- Responsibilities each spouse will have with regard to their children – Florida law presumes that parental responsibilities will be shared unless it is detrimental to the children. These factors in Florida alimony would include participation in the major decisions affecting the welfare of the child, such as time-sharing, educational, religious, health and medical needs.
- The tax treatment and consequences to both spouses of any alimony award – Florida alimony can be taxable or nontaxable. Florida alimony is normally tax deductible to the spouse who pays it, and taxable to the spouse who receives it.
- All sources of income available to either spouse, including income from investments – One example would be if one spouse has a $30,000 brokerage account that has proven over time to earn 5% interest, the judge could add $1,500 to that spouse’s income when determining the award of alimony.
- Adultery as a factor in Florida alimony – The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.
Finally, the court will often regard case law from Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal for other relevant factors in Florida alimony entitlements.
How Can the Kramer Law Firm Help?
We can protect you rights, whether you are required to pay alimony, or you need to receive alimony. Sometimes, there is more than meets the eye in a case regarding alimony. The Kramer Law Firm is skilled and motivated to produce the evidence and facts needed to support your case for fair and just alimony, and protect your rights under the law in various ways, including:
If your spouse claims he or she is disabled and cannot work and is therefore in need of alimony – and you have reason to believe they are not disabled – we can use private investigators and other means to prove that a claimed disability is fraudulent. We can employ vocational experts to prove that someone is capable of earning income. For instance, with the right legal evidence to support your case, instead of having to pay $1000 a month in permanent alimony, you may instead only be required to pay $350 a month for two years.
We work with private investigators to prove adultery. If you suspect your spouse has been cheating on your marriage, we can conduct a clandestine investigation to find infidelity prior to separation or filing the divorce, and use this evidence to support an alimony claim.
We understand the importance of disparity in income, and the critical role that it plays. An obvious imbalance in income levels, or economic inequality in a spouse’s standard of living after divorce, are factors in Florida alimony we will use to support certain types and levels of spousal support.
We will challenge fraud in alimony. When a spouse misrepresents earned income or assets, is hiding income, or misrepresents a couple’s prior lifestyle in order to gain undue alimony, this constitutes fraud. We will meticulously investigate financial records and past proof of expenditures and lifestyle in order to protect our clients from fraud.
We can help you determine the taxes owed on the alimony, and seek an amount of alimony to allow for tax liability. How alimony is structured can foster sensible cash-flow planning between spouses, which can help both parties to a divorce.
Contact the Orlando family law attorneys at the Kramer Law Firm to discuss how the factors in Florida alimony will affect your case.