Am I Entitled to (or on the hook for) Alimony?
Alimony can be a confusing subject for Floridians going through a divorce. You may worry about having to pay too much alimony, or you may be worrying about receiving enough alimony to get by. The Florida Statute that governs awards of alimony is 61.08; this statute lays out all the factors a Court must consider in deciding whether or not to award alimony (and if so, how much and for how long). The two primary variables in an alimony award are duration and amount.
There are several forms of alimony as it relates to duration. There is temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent. In general, the longer the marriage, the more exposure there is to a longer duration of alimony. Some forms of alimony are meant to provide temporary assistance to a divorcing spouse, while other forms of alimony are meant to provide more permanent support. The factors laid out in Florida Statute 61.08 range from the duration of the marriage, the physical and mental health of the parties, the education of the parties, work history, standard of living from the marriage, and the childcare responsibilities one of the parents may have.
The primary factor in an award of alimony is one parties’ need versus the other parties’ ability to pay. The Court must make a finding that one spouse has a specific need for a certain amount of money and that the other spouse has the ability to pay the money that is being requested. The Court also has to take into account each parties’ necessary monthly expenses, and whether any of those expenses can be trimmed back.
An award of alimony is always a very fact-intensive exercise and always varies from case to case. If you are seeking alimony, or are concerned about paying alimony, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through this legal process.