One of the most frequent questions Yaffa Family Law Group receives from newly divorce clients is whether they will have to pay, or if they are entitled to alimony. While there is no set formula for alimony in Florida, there are some guidelines provided.
What factors will the court examine?
There are many factors that a court will consider in determining whether or not to award alimony. One factor that weighs heavily in an alimony calculation is the length of a marriage. If you have been married for less than seven years, there is a presumption against an award of alimony. If you have been married for more than seven years, but less than seventeen years, there is a presumption of alimony, but not permanent alimony. If you have been married for more than seventeen years, then there is a presumption in favor of permanent alimony.
Other factors that a court will look at include, but are not limited to: the financial resources of each party, the age and physical condition of each party, the standard of living during the marriage, and the financial responsibilities of each party.
How does the Court calculate alimony?
In determining the amount of alimony, a court will look at whether the spouse requesting alimony has a need and then determine if the other spouse has the ability to satisfy, all or part, of that need. The award of alimony may not leave the paying party destitute or unable to support themselves.
The definition of need varies somewhat depending on the circumstances. The general intention of a court in awarding alimony is that both parties are able to maintain the standard of living as close to the one that they had during the marriage. Alimony is awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life to the party that lacks the ability to do so themselves. Sometimes a court will award rehabilitative alimony to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials. In order to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan which shall be included as a part of any order awarding rehabilitative alimony.
If a party has legitimate and identifiable short-term needs, a court might award alimony to provide support to allow the party to make a transition from being married to being single. This is known as bridge-the-gap alimony and cannot exceed two years.
About the Author
Tamara Grossman is an attorney with eight years of courtroom experience in family law and other legal matters. Ms. Grossman has been a partner in a multistate litig