How is Alimony Determined in a Florida Divorce?
Alimony is currently a very hot topic in Florida, so what’s true today may not be true tomorrow. Nonetheless, it’s always an issue when a couple unties the knot. In terms of pure economic questions, there are a few things to consider in a Florida divorce. Alimony is one of those things. Others include the division of property, child support payments, and the division of debts. Each of these can factor into a divorce agreement.
Alimony refers to spousal support that is paid by a higher earner to a lower earner so that they can maintain their standard of living. In cases where there is one spouse who acted as a homemaker and had a major role in child-rearing, alimony can be substantial. In cases where both spouses earn about the same amount of money, there may be no alimony at all. For that reason, alimony is not guaranteed in a Florida divorce.
How a Court Decides Alimony
If you are a lower-earning spouse, regardless of whether or not you are a man or a woman, you are entitled to make a request of the other spouse for alimony. When the other spouse refuses to pay it, that’s when things can get ugly. The lower-earning spouse will then have to petition the court to render a final decision on alimony.
The court will then consider a number of factors to determine whether or not the spouse should pay alimony and, if so, how much. These factors include such things as:
- Education level,
- Earning power,
- Length of marriage, and
- The standard of living.
Generally speaking, the court will not want one spouse with little earning power to endure a much lower standard of living than the other simply because the couple’s marriage didn’t survive. On the other hand, factors such as assets that were split up during the marriage can impact the spouse’s alimony.
Often, alimony, asset division, child support, and debts all factor into one equation that allows the spouse to move forward with their lives without their spouse’s income. This means that if one spouse gets a lucrative business or investment, this can take the place of alimony. On the other hand, the other spouse may not be interested in parting with a business that they helped grow. Now, the alimony payment might go a little higher.
Other Factors Impacting Alimony
It is within a judge’s discretion to consider bad behavior within the marriage as a factor that impacts alimony. If one spouse cheated on the other, was abusive, or otherwise was a bad partner, the judge may reduce or enlarge their alimony payment.
Logistically, however, it will be a negotiation between the two parties based on what they think a judge will consider fair.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney
If you’re worried about alimony in your divorce, the West Palm Beach alimony attorney at Bruce S. Rosenwater & Associates, P.A. can help guide you through the process. Talk to us today for more information.