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Average Alimony Payment In Florida

How To Calculate Spousal Support Using Alimony Calculator

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To calculate alimony or spousal support you will need the following information:

  • Your gross yearly income. Gross income is income before taxes.
  • Your net yearly income. Net income is income after taxes.
  • Your spouses gross yearly income.
  • Your spouses net yearly income.
  • The amount that you or your spouse pays in child support for children that are the result of a prior relationship.
  • The amount of child support you pay or receive for children of your relationship.
  • Length of marriage.

How To Collect Alimony Owed

Unfortunately, the paying spouse will refuse or make it difficult to collect the alimony they are ordered to pay. However, Florida alimony law provides a variety of ways to enforce judgments, including garnishment. In garnishment cases, the funds go directly to the ex-spouse rather than their original recipient. The most common type of garnishment is wage garnishment. With wage garnishments, the alimony is deducted from the employees salary and forwarded to the ex-spouse by the employer in a lump sum payment.

Garnishments are not reserved for just wages. Other forms of income may be garnished as well. For example, in City of Miami v. Spurrier, the court ruled that pensions could also be garnished for alimony payments. Further, spendthrift trusts are specifically designed to protect the trustees assets from creditors can be garnished to pay alimony. See Florida alimony garnishment case, Gilbert v. Gilbert.

Many people who are not experienced divorce lawyers may think that there is a loophole, which allows anyone to get out of a garnishment order to bridge the gap. There is indeed a Head of Household defense to garnishment under Florida Statute §222.11. However, the exception was revised to provide alimony award, regardless of head-of-household status many years ago. Therefore, the head of household exemption will not prevent alimony from garnishing wages.

Parents’ Monthly Net Incomes

Adding together each parent’s monthly net income determines their combined available income. The state uses this figure to set parents’ basic monthly obligation, or how much they’re expected to spend on their children each month.

Each parent is responsible for part of the basic monthly obligation, proportional to their income. For example, if you earn 30 percent of the combined available income, you are responsible for 30 percent of the basic monthly obligation.

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Contact An Experienced Family Law Attorney

You can benefit from the assistance of our experienced alimony attorneys whether you are seeking alimony or whether your ex-spouse has requested that you pay alimony. If you are in need of alimony, an we can review the facts of your case and discuss with you how best to present your situation to the court. Especially if you are asking for rehabilitative alimony, our legal team can assist you in preparing the proper documents to present your request to the court. Our consultations are free and we look forward to fighting for your rights.

If your ex-spouse has asked the court to order you to pay alimony, it is important to discuss the case with an attorney as well. An attorney can assist you in presenting the facts of your situation as well as gathering evidence about your ex-spouses situation. Since alimony is based both on need and ability to pay, your attorney can ensure that the court considers facts related to both of these factors.

Calculate Percentages Of Financial Responsibility

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Divide either parent’s net income by the combined available income. Multiply the result by 100 to get their percentage of financial responsibility.

The remaining percentage is the other parent’s responsibility.

Example: Jamie divides her net income of $4,000 by $6,400 . She multiplies the result by 100 to get 62.5, her percentage of financial responsibility. Alex is responsible for the other 37.5 percent.

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Florida Alimony Law Overview

This Florida Alimony Law Overview covers what is important about Floridas Alimony Laws.

Alimony is the term given to financial support paid, usually monthly, from one former spouse to another after the marriage is over. Alimony is a creature of statute and the rules regarding it differ greatly between jurisdictions.

Some jurisdictions use a mathematical formula to determine the amount of alimony, but in Florida the exact determination of the amount and duration of alimony is in the discretion of divorce court judges.

Generally speaking, two facts must be established before a judge orders the payment of alimony: one spouse must actually need financial support from the other spouse to pay their living expenses after maximizing their earning potential and the other spouse must actually have the financial ability to pay financial support to the other party in addition to their own reasonable living expenses.

Although this seems simple in concept, the amount and duration of alimony is one of the most contentious issues in divorce litigation. This is for good reason, as the amount of alimony paid or received can be the difference between both the spouse paying or receiving the alimony being comfortable after the divorce or living in the proverbial poor house.

The most contested issues that come up concerning alimony are typically:

  • Determining each spouses income for evaluating how much alimony they need or can pay
  • Determining how much alimony will be awarded
  • How Florida Courts Decide How Long Alimony Payments Last

    The length of a marriage is usually the most important factor in an alimony order. When courts award durational alimony, alimony payments cant last longer than the length of the marriage.

    Florida law defines a short-term marriage as one lasting less than seven years. A moderate-term marriage lasts at least seven years but fewer than 17 years. If a marriage lasts more than 17 years, its considered a long-term marriage.

    Short-term marriages usually qualify for short-term forms of alimony, such as bridge-the-gap alimony. They sometimes qualify for durational alimony, depending on the circumstances. However, durational alimony will usually be awarded in divorces from a moderate-term or long-term marriage. Once more, payments for this form of alimony will not last longer than the marriage.

    Permanent alimony is generally only awarded in cases involving long-term marriages. However, permanent alimony may be available in select divorces involving moderate-term marriages.

    No two divorce cases are alike. Courts must review a range of circumstances and factors to decide if alimony is warranted. Hiring an experienced attorney is the best way to ensure an alimony arrangement is fair.

    To learn more, call our law firm at or visit our contact us page to send us an email.

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    How Much Alimony Will I Have To Pay Or Will I Receive In My Naples Florida Divorce

    In a Florida divorce, the first question to ask is whether alimony will be awarded at all? This is determined through he need and ability test which I outlined in a previous article.

    If a party is determined to have needs which he or she cannot satisfy with their own income and the other party then the needs represent a ceiling which alimony payments will not exceed. Absent special circumstances, an alimony award shall not exceed a spouses need. Garcia v. Garcia, 25 So. 3d 687.

    At the same time, no alimony award shall exceed the payors ability to pay. Perez v. Perez, 11 So. 3d 470.

    So, Florida case law has established both a floor and a ceiling

    The Florida statutes do not provide further guidance except to state that the amount of alimony is completely within the discretion of the trial court.

    So, there are extremely loose guidelines in determining a Florida alimony award. The best we can do is try to approximate the logic that the average court will employ in determining an exact amount for an alimony award. I try to do that below.

    Need = [reasonable expenses

    Ability = [ reasonable expenses)

    Alimony = The smaller of either the Need or the Ability in the above two calculations

    Beyond the parties expenses and incomes there may be other factors that a court decides to consider.

    Contact my Naples, Florida law office to schedule a free consultation to discuss the possibility of alimony in your pending divorce.

    How To Avoid Paying Alimony In California

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    If you are considering divorce in California, it is important to understand the alimony laws and how they may impact you. Many people ask, How can I avoid paying alimony in California? This is a highly complex question, as many factors will determine whether you pay alimony and how much. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Every situation is different, and the best way to avoid paying alimony will vary depending on your specific circumstances. However, by taking the time to understand the most common ways to avoid alimony payments, you can put yourself in a much better position to protect your finances.

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    If You Have Children Calculate Maintenance In New York Using The Formula For Couples With Minor Children

    Moving onto the formula. With minor children, the formula is similar, the percentages are just a little different.

    With minor children, you take 25% of the lower-earning spouses net income. So here its $50,000. 25% of that is $12,500. Take 20% of the higher-earning spouses income. $100,000 times 20% equals $20,000. The difference is $7,500 . So you hold that number.

    Then use the same Step 2 formula as above. You take the combined income of $150,000 times 40% equals $60,000. $60,000 minus the lower-earning spouses net income of $50,000 equals $10,000.

    So in this example, the $7,500 is lower, so that is going to be the annual maintenance. $7,500 divided by 12 is $625 per month. That would be the monthly maintenance order in that case. Of course, the reason it is lower is because then you go on and calculate what the child support would be.

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    What Is A Spouses Earning Capacity

    As weve seen, states typically require judges to consider both spouses ability to earn. That means a judge wont just look at current income, but what spouses could reasonably earn, given their education, training, experience, job skills, and the local demand for those skills.

    When either spouse is voluntarily earning below their potential, the judge may impute income to that spouse. For example, say you were the high-earning spouse in your marriage, making $200,000 a year as a lawyer. But after you and your spouse separated, you quit your job to become a sculptor earning less than $30,000 a year. The judge might order you to pay an amount of alimony consistent with your ability to earn rather than your actual earnings.

    However, if you had a valid reason to switch to a lower-paying jobfor instance, because work-related stress was causing medical and psychological harmyou might be able to provide evidence to convince a judge not to base the alimony amount on your old salary. But you can expect a fight from your spouse or ex.

    The supported spouses current and future earning potential also comes into play when judges are setting the amount of alimony. As part of rehabilitative alimony, judges often order a vocational evaluation with an expert who will analyze how much that spouse can currently earn and what steps need to be taken in order to become self-supporting.

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    How Long Does Alimony Last

    The monthly alimony payment is only half of the equation. How long will the alimony payment last? Is it months? Years? Forever? We take you through the determination of how long alimony payments last here.

    Of course, sometimes things change after the divorce. What if you find a new love and get married? Live together in the same house? Weve outlined everything you need to know about future relationships and your alimony award here.

    Determining When Alimony Payments Change Or Stop Completely:

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    It is almost always the case that alimony payments terminate upon either spouses death or upon the alimony recipient getting remarried, or in some cases, cohabitating.

    Further, there are provisions in Florida Alimony Law that allows alimony to be reduced or terminated upon the person paying alimony reaching a reasonable retirement age and actually retiring.

    Otherwise, most jurisdictions have laws allowing alimony to increase or decrease upon a showing of a substantial, unanticipated, change in circumstances, such as losing a job or suffering a health condition that increases their need for alimony or ability to pay alimony.

    Although, in theory, alimony is almost always subject to change, be mindful that in practice, it is burdensome and expensive to change the amount of alimony.

    For this reason, it is critical to ensure the original alimony award is realistic and sufficient when your case is settled. It is asking for trouble to agree to an unrealistic or insufficient alimony award with the thought that you will simply go and change alimony later.

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    Modify Alimony Based On A Change Of Income

    Alimony obligation may be modified or terminated upon the death, remarriage, or when the other spouse enters into a supportive relationship. However, the most common reason for modifying alimony is an involuntary loss of income. When determining if modification is justified, the court will consider the parties relative financial circumstances at the time of the final judgment, compared with the parties relative financial circumstances when the petition for modification was filed. See Mastromonico v. Mastromonico. Voluntary income reductions by incurring debt are usually not a valid basis for modification. See Cowie v. Cowie. Additionally, voluntary reductions in income will also not serve as a basis to reduce the amount of alimony. See Cowie v. Cowie.

    Can I Legally Avoid Paying Alimony

    Normally, spouses can waive alimony payments by putting the agreement in writing in a prenuptial agreement. However, a paying spouse may look for ways to legally avoid paying alimony even without a prenup. A good place to start is looking at the state laws to find out whether your spouse has disqualified themselves for alimony in any way. For instance, you could avoid paying alimony if you prove your spouses infidelity.

    Reducing Your Income

    But are there legal ways of dodging alimony payments after a court has issued the order? You could try changing up your lifestyle. Remember, a court may modify or end alimony payment if you prove a significant change in your financial circumstances. If youre the paying spouse, you could downgrade by, say, getting a lower-paying job.

    Yet, this tactic could be a fools errand. The court may determine that you willfully took up a lower-paying job. Under Georgia alimony laws, you may be ordered to continue making payments as if you were working your previous high-paying job.

    Proving Your Ex-Spouse Does Not Need Alimony

    Another way is to prove that your spouse doesnt need alimony. If you could prove that they are simply being vindictive and dont actually need spousal support, a judge could reject their request to get alimony.

    Also Check: How To File For Alimony In Pa

    Understanding And Calculating The Florida Alimony

    After youve figure out your alimony payments using the Florida Alimony Calculator then youll need to understand what an alimony is. Alimony is a legal requirement by one partner to grant financial support to his or her estranged spouse after a legal divorce or separation. An alimony award aims at compensating the unwarranted economic consequences to one spouse following a divorce.

    Judges usually consider numerous factors when determining the alimony payments. The court decides on the alimony award by considering things like the marital standards of living, age and general health of each spouse. Additionally, the duration of the marriage, the sum of each partners assets, and the role of each spouse to the marriage, and tax bill penalties plays a huge role.

    Adjust Monthly Obligations For Time

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    If one parent has less than 20 percent of time-sharing, skip to Step 7.

    Otherwise, multiply each parent’s portion of the increased basic obligation by the other parent’s time-sharing percentage. You’ll end up with each parent’s monthly obligation adjusted for time-sharing.

    Example: Jamie multiplies her obligation by Alex’s time-sharing percentage , bringing her adjusted obligation to $1,352.

    Alex’s obligation of $1,014 is multiplied by Jamie’s 20 percent time-sharing , which brings his adjusted obligation to $203.

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    How Do I Avoid Alimony In Florida

    One of the best ways to avoid an alimony obligation is by agreement between the parties. Working out an agreement with your spouse is one of the ways to ensure that there is no alimony obligation from you to your spouse. These agreements can happen before marriage, but chances are you may already be married, so therefore an agreement named a postnuptial agreement, aptly named for agreements after marriage, would be appropriate to assist you in avoiding having an alimony obligation.

    Another way to avoid alimony in Florida is via eliminating need from your spouse. The analysis that Judges use to determine an alimony obligation is the obliges need v. the obligators ability to pay. So consistently asking oneself about how much one spouse would potentially need in alimony, how much can the needy spouse assist in contributing to their own need and the difference between the needy spouses need and their ability to contribute to their need.

    Modification Or Termination Of Alimony

    The alimony payments can last for an indefinite period however, if it happens to be finite, then alimony payments may stop when:

    • The period set for the cessation of alimony payments expires.
    • The dependent spouse enters into a domestic partnership or remarries.
    • Whenever the children become grown-ups, and no longer need a parent at home.
    • Whenever the judge determines that the spouse receiving alimony does not make enough effort to become self-supporting.
    • Whenever one party dies.

    On the other hand, the judge may order modification of the alimony when:

    • The obligor spouse retires.
    • When the supporting spouse becomes ill.
    • When there is a significant fall in the gross income of the supporting spouse.

    The period you will pay your alimony depends on the Florida State Laws as well as several other factors. For instance, if your marriage lasted for seventeen years, a permanent alimony may be appropriate, but if it was less than 17 years, then awarding a permanent alimony is less likely.

    However, even with less than 17 years of marriage, a permanent alimony may be appropriate if the reasons given are convincing.

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