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.
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.