In some instances a spouse will ask for alimony, the court-ordered payment of money to your spouse during and/or after the dissolution of marriage. If you made more money (especially if you were the primary breadwinner), there is a good chance your spouse will seek alimony. The bigger the difference in earnings and the longer you were married, the larger the alimony payment may be.
Will Alimony Be Awarded?
The general standard in making a determination of alimony is whether one spouse has the ability to pay support and the other party has the need for support. Without both, alimony is not appropriate and the spouse seeking support has the burden to show them.
How Is Alimony Determined?
Generally, there are designated factors that the court has to consider in determining whether or not to order a party to pay alimony.
Florida statute 61.08 identifies the following factors that a Court is to consider when making a decision on whether to award alimony:
(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.
(b) The duration of the marriage.
(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
(d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
(e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability 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.
(f) 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.
(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
(h) 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.
(i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
(j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
Once the court determines that a party is entitled to alimony, the court then determines what type of alimony to award, how much the person should receive per month, and how long he or she should receive it.
How Much Maintenance Will I Have to Pay?
Spousal support awards vary
because the statutes do not address specifically how the award should be calculated. Itcan be difficult to predict what the spousal support would be because there are no guidelines. Having experienced legal representation can be important in protecting yourself or in obtaining an award for necessary support.