An Award of Alimony in Florida

An Award of Alimony in Florida

There are many things a court has to consider when dealing with a request for alimony, but the first issue the court has to determine is whether either party actually needs alimony, and whether either party can actually pay alimony.

From there, the court in determining a proper award of alimony or maintenance, shall consider all relevant economic factors, which include but are not limited to:

The standard of living established during the marriage

The court when considering this factor is trying to determine how the parties lived during the marriage. Some things the court might consider are: What is the value of the marital home? What is the value of the parties’ cars? What kind of possessions do they have? What kind of vacations did the family take? The higher the standard of living, the greater chance of alimony in Florida being awarded. However, the standard of living during the marriage is not so much of a factor in short term marriages.

The duration of the marriage.

Generally speaking, the longer the marriage the more exposure one has to having an award of alimony being made to one of the parties.

The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.

A person’s age and health have an impact as to whether alimony in Florida is awarded. If a party is older and in poor health, they will have a greater probability of being awarded alimony in Florida then a younger, healthier person.

The financial resources of each party

, including the non-marital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
The Court looks at the financial situation of each party. It is important to note that the Court can also look at a party’s non-marital assets to determine whether an award of alimony is proper.

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.
There are times when a party may not be working but this factor is not limited to that, rather it takes into consideration whether the party has the ability to work. For example, a stay at home mom who left college to raise the parties’ children, never to finish her degree. While that party may not earn anything at this point, with the completion of his/her education he/she could find employment and support himself/herself. Keep in mind that this not an atypical scenario where rehabilitative alimony in Florida might be considered.

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.

Primary examples you would see raised here for the court’s consideration is the stay at home mom, the spouse who moved to several different states (quitting a job each time) to further the career of the other spouse, or a spouse who worked to assist the other spouse in getting an advanced degree or specialized education/training.

The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children

… they have in common.

The court might consider under this factor the age, health, or special needs of a minor child of the parties.

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.

Alimony in Florida can be taxable or nontaxable to the recipient spouse. Typically, alimony in Florida is tax deductible to the person paying it and taxable to the party receiving it which is in line with the position of the Internal Revenue Service.

All sources of income available to either party

… including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.

An example of this type of income is where the court awards to one of the parties an investment account that has historically earned 10% a year, then the Court could add whatever that amount of money is to that party’s income when considering whether to award alimony in Florida.

Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

This is a catchall which gives the Court freedom to fashion an award of alimony in Florida.

(Florida Statute §61.08)

 

Family law issues can become extremely complex. Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.

 

Do You Need an Attorney to Handle a Florida Divorce

Do You Need an Attorney to Handle a Florida Divorce

Florida Divorce: Do I really need an Attorney?

I have had several people come to me in the untold number of years that I have practiced law who have asked me if they need to have a divorce  attorney to handle their dissolution of marriage case.   

I am a bit humored when asked that because a lot of times I feel like a mechanic must feel when someone drives up with a car that has a smoke curling up from the engine and the car dies pulling into their parking lot.   That said, there is no real easy answer to the question of whether you need a lawyer for your Florida divorce,  but I can say that more often than not it is better to have an attorney.  

Why, you ask… well here is why. 

  1. There are some great forms out there that you can use to fill in the blank but if you have never gone through a divorce before let alone filed out the forms for Florida divorce, you do not know if you are filling them out correctly or what to ask for.
  2. That last part leads to my second point, what to ask for… unless you are well versed in the Florida Law on Dissolution of Marriage (a.k.a. Florida Statute 61), how do you know what to put on those forms.
  3. The final reason I would suggest that is better to have an attorney is because generally speaking there are emotions involved in the termination of a relationship and most people to not operate with a clear head when they are emotional.  

The bottom line is that choosing to use an attorney or not is personal but ultimately remember that you are making decisions that will literally effect the rest of your life, so chose wisely… because making the wrong decision could cost you more than the money you pay your attorney.

 

 

Hiring a Divorce Lawyer is an Investment in Your Future

Hiring a Divorce Lawyer is an Investment in Your Future

How is a Divorce Attorney, an investment in your future?

Q client told their lawyer that hiring a lawyer to handle divorce is like investing in your future.  If you don’t choose the right one, it could be a very bleak future.

I don’t say that to be the oh no woe is you…  but it’s something to think about.

When you attorney first meets you to talk about your case, they should be forthright and honest about the good, the bad and the ugly on your legal matter.  It is not appropriate for a divorce attorney to paint only the rainbow and puppies and kitties picture when there could be serious issues that need to be resolved.  That doesn’t mean that your attorney should  paint a doom and gloom picture either.  You should feel an establishment of trust with  the person on the other side of the desk and you should believe that a healthy attorney client relationship will mean mutual respect, give and take, and total honesty.

The point is that if you feel judged by the attorney you are meeting with, or if you don’t feel like you can share all the dark dirty secrets of your marriage and divorce with the attorney you are meeting with – then that might be a red flag that that attorney isn’t the one for you.

This is your future…  choose wisely!!!!

Family law issues can become extremely complex.  Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, schedule an initial consultation.  Most attorneys will do this for free.

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