Alimony Lawyers Serving Sarasota, Bradenton, & Southwest Florida
Board-Certified Marital Law Attorney on Your Side
Alimony consists of court-ordered payments paid to one of the parties during and/or after a Florida divorce. Whether or not you will have to pay alimony or whether you will receive it is not a cut-and-dried issue. Unlike child support, no state guidelines or calculation worksheets exist to determine if or how much or for how long alimony will be owed. Many factors will need to be reviewed by the court when you are either seeking or contesting alimony. If you and your spouse agree on this issue, you can submit your agreement to the court for approval. If it becomes a contested issue, the court must intervene to decide.
When a divorce case reaches the stage of determining alimony, a judge will decide whether, when, and how it will be paid. Since no formula exists for determining alimony, the process can be subjective and vary from judge to judge. To protect your financial interests, you will need an experienced attorney on your side. At Schipani, Norman & McLain, P.A., we understand that the process of determining alimony can be confusing and emotional. Our Sarasota alimony attorneys have the experience needed to build the strongest possible case for your desired outcome.
To talk to one of our lawyers about alimony, contact Schipani, Norman & McLain, P.A. at (941) 499-8154 or through our online request form.
Types of Alimony in Florida
In Florida, both men and women may be awarded alimony, also known as spousal maintenance or support. There are five types of alimony:
- Temporary alimony: Florida courts realize the financial stress involved with divorce proceedings and allow for temporary alimony to be paid until a more permanent agreement can be made.
- Lump-sum alimony: A one-time payment can be made as an alternative to monthly payments made for an undetermined amount of time.
- Bridge-the-gap alimony: This type of support is awarded for a shorter time to allow the receiving spouse to focus on becoming financially independent.
- Durational alimony: This type of alimony is awarded in moderate-term marriages for a modifiable period of time.
- Permanent alimony: Alimony can be permanent following marriages that have lasted 19 or more years.
The two most critical factors involved in the issue of alimony are:
- Whether or not the party requesting it has a valid need for financial assistance.
- The ability of the paying party to provide it.
If you have demonstrable proof that you need alimony but your soon-to-be ex-spouse does not have the financial wherewithal to pay it without shorting his or her own basic needs, you are unlikely to be awarded it by the court.
On the other hand, if your spouse has a larger income than you but you still have an abundance of resources to cover all your needs, it is unlikely you will be awarded alimony. Overall, courts will look at the standard of living that was established in the marriage and try to maintain that standard through its decisions.
Alimony is taxable to the person who receives it and tax deductible to the person who pays it. Alimony can be modified after divorce in certain circumstances. It can be stopped if the recipient remarries or moves in with a new partner.
Length of Marriage in Alimony Decisions
Florida does not have set rules as to how long you must have been married to receive alimony. However, a “presumption” does exist that you must have been married for at least seven years in order to be eligible for alimony. In any case of alimony, however, a judge will decide based on the evidence presented in court. Other factors that may influence the issue of alimony include whether or not one spouse engaged in financial or marital misconduct, such as squandering assets or lavishing expensive gifts on a lover in an adulterous relationship.
An Alimony Factor You Can Control
Many factors will influence the issue of alimony such as the length of the marriage, the financial conditions of both parties, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, the earning capacities of both parties, the contributions of both sides to the marriage, and more. Many or all of such factors will be analyzed by the court in its determination.
While you cannot control how a judge will rule, you can control one factor which is the quality and competence of your attorney. At our firm, you will have access to an entire team of experienced divorce lawyers of whom one is Board Certified in Marital Law by the Florida Bar. Our lawyers are here to answer all of your questions about alimony and protect your financial interests.
To schedule a consultation, call (941) 499-8154 or complete our contact form. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays with evening and weekend consultations by appointment.