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How Is Alimony Calculated In Florida

This Legal Update Dramatically Changed How Alimony Works In Florida

Alimony: What You Need To Know About it In Florida

While Senate Bill 718, more commonly referred to as the Alimony Bill, affected more than just alimony, the change it had was significant enough to keep the majority of the public focus on that aspect. This law, which came into effect on July 1, 2013, placed priority on awardingbridge-the-gap alimony first, orrehabilitative alimony if that wasnt a suitable option over any other type of alimony offered in Florida. This could change depending on the actions of state legislators, but its important to understand how the courts will handle alimony decisions if you are in the process of filing for divorce.

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Divorce is a complicated and stressful process to manage, and it can become even more confusing if you dont have a complete understanding of the laws in place. At Givens Law Group, our attorneys have decades of collective years of experience, and are passionate about providing each client we accept with the knowledgeable representation they need to secure the legal outcome they deserve. If you are in need of an attorney, reach out to us today to discuss your case.

Alimony Without Filing Divorce

Under Florida Statute 61.09, a paying spouse may be required to pay alimony without getting divorced. Florida does not recognize legal separation therefore, alimony may still be necessary if a couple is separated. Unlike alimony in divorce cases, alimony under this statute acknowledges the continuation of the marriage, the continued right of a paying spouse to participate in the other spouses estate, and the possibility of a reconciliation. See Wood v. Wood.

Spouses have a legal duty to provide financial support to each other. Spousal support can be required even if the couple is separated and not yet divorced. Spouses are obligated to provide financial support approximate to that which has been established during the marriage. See Astor v. Astor.

To be eligible for a divorce in Florida, at least one spouse must be a resident of Florida for the six months preceding the filing of the divorce petition. However, there is no residency requirement for seeking durational alimony award under Florida Statute 61.09. See Wachsmuth v. Wachsmuth.

Further, there is no requirement that the couple lives apart before the court can order alimony. Moreover, there is no requirement that the party paying alimony be at fault for the separation. However, if both parties have not lived in Florida as a married couple, there may be issues regarding personal jurisdiction. If the court lacks personal jurisdiction, it will not compel a party to pay rehabilitative alimony.

Does The Length Of Marriage Affect Alimony

Permanent alimony or long durational alimony awards are usually reserved for long-term or moderate-term marriages. Generally, short-term marriages are only eligible for short-term forms of alimony. Under Florida law, a short-term marriage is a marriage lasting less than seven years. A moderate-term marriage is classified as a marriage lasting between 7 and 17 years. A marriage lasting longer than 17 years is considered a long-term marriage. See Fichtel v. Fichtel.

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How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Alimony In Florida

Permanent alimony or long durational alimony awards are usually reserved for long-term or moderate-term marriages. Generally, short-term marriages are only eligible for short-term forms of alimony. Under Florida law, a short-term marriage is a marriage lasting less than seven years. A moderate-term marriage is classified as a marriage lasting between 7 and 17 years. A marriage lasting longer than 17 years is considered a long-term marriage. See case law at Fichtel v. Fichtel.

Alimony Types In Pennsylvania

Georgia Child Support Calculator

There are three types of alimony based on when a spouse requests the payments during the divorce process. Spousal support is a type of pre-divorce payment where one spouse supports the other. For example, if a couple separates and begins living in different homes but is yet to file for divorce, one party can request the other to support them financially.

Once one person files for divorce, the payment is called alimony pendente lite. In essence, it is the same as spousal support, but it has to bear a different name as the circumstances surrounding the separation change.

Finally, post-divorce payments are known as alimony. Judges determine these payments differently from the first two, and these payments begin as soon as the divorce is finalized.

Regardless of the alimony type, the higher-earning spouse is commonly the one who pays it. Thus, a court has to have access to the spouses earnings and financial records in order to determine who needs to pay.

Finally, it is important to mention that alimony is always separate from child support. Courts calculate alimony first and then make decisions regarding the support of children that are still minors.

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Who Is Entitled To Alimony In Florida

The overriding legislative intent in establishing alimony law is that the State of Florida does not want to support an impecunious spouse by way of welfare, food stamps, and the like. Therefore, courts will look to the breadwinning spouse to ensure that the other spouse does not go homeless or without basic living necessities.

What this has translated to by way of laws and judicial interpretation is that there are two spouses who enjoyed a certain standard of living throughout the marriage, and, upon dissolution of that marriage, both spouses should continue to enjoy that same standard of living.

To the extent that one spouse cannot afford that established standard of living with his or her own income, the other spouse must provide supplemental income. Of course, what usually occurs upon dissolution of marriage is that the standard of living enjoyed by two people in the same household will go down when there are two households to maintain.

In determining whether to award alimony in Florida, the court will first make a determination as to need and ability to pay and then the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:

The standard of living established during the marriage

The duration of the marriage

The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party

The financial resources of each party, including the non-marital and marital assets and liabilities distributed to each

All sources of income available to either party.

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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What Qualifies You For Alimony In Florida

What qualifies a recipient spouse for alimony in Florida are several factors, among them:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • Both spouses financial resources, including the non-marital, marital property, assets, and liabilities
  • Each spouses earning capacity, educational level, vocational skills, and employability and, if applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to find employment
  • Both spouses contributions to the marriage, including homemaking, childcare, education, and career-building of the other spouse
  • Whether either spouse will have parental responsibilities to minor children
  • Tax consequences of alimony, if any, to both spouses
  • All sources of income to both spouses, including income available through investments
  • Any other factor the court deems necessary to create a fair alimony award

There is no formula for judges to use when deciding how much and what type of alimony is appropriate. In addition to the above factors, the court must also ensure that the paying spouses net income is no less than the supported spouse Judges have broad discretion when deciding the type , duration, and amount of alimony appropriate for your case.

Types Of Alimony In Florida

Alimony changes could soon take effect in Florida

Under Florida divorce law, there are five types of award alimony. A judge may award any combination of these types of alimony payments, which may be made periodically or in one lump sum. The types of awarding alimony are determined by how long the payments will last.

  • Temporary alimony is awarded during the divorce proceeding and ends when the final judgment is entered. See Florida divorce case Littlejohn v. Littlejohn to learn more about temporary alimony.
  • Bridge the gap alimony looks at what each spouse would need to transition to single life. Bridge the gap alimony is transitional it considers bills and foreseeable expenses of starting life without a spouse.
  • Rehabilitative alimony has goals similar to bridge the gap. Rehabilitative alimony considers the time one spouse may need to further their education short or moderate and/or obtain appropriate employment.
  • Durational alimony in Florida can be awarded in short-term or moderate-term marriages. It is alimony for a pre-determined amount of time and cannot exceed the length of the marriage. For instance, if married for two years, one spouse cannot receive durational alimony for more than two years.
  • Permanent alimony is usually only granted in moderate or long-term marriages. Permanent alimony usually continues until either death or remarriage.
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    Awarding Alimony Under Florida Law

    Some factors affect the courts judgment when awarding alimony in Florida. The court will consider alimony if they deem it necessary. The ability to pay alimony is also a crucial element when deciding its validity.

    If the court cant get enough relevant evidence to support a form of alimony payment, the court may deny the requesting party from receiving alimony from their ex-spouse.

    How Much Is Alimony In Pennsylvania

    Pennsylvania considers support for a spouse or child a priority responsibility. Therefore, a party is expected to pay their alimony or support obligations by reducing other expenses. Alimony is typically calculated on a case-by-case basis by the family court judge assigned to the case.

    The basic alimony, spousal support, or alimony pendente lite obligation is often calculated using the parties average monthly net incomes. Monthly net income is calculated by adding up an individuals income for 6 months and then dividing the total by 6.

    Per Chapter 23 Section 4302 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Status, income refers to all money received by an individual from any source, including but not limited to:

    • Salaries, bonuses, and commissions
    • Social security or disability insurance
    • Lottery winnings

    If a party paying alimony is a foster parent or receives payments from a public or private agency to care for a child. Such payments must be excluded from the partys monthly net income when the calculation is done.

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    Determining How Long Alimony Will Be Paid:

    The length of time the alimony payments last depends on the specifics of the support needed, but will vary significantly between courthouses and judges, which is why some states base the duration upon statutory formulas. Sometimes, the alimony will stop after a period of time deemed necessary for the spouse to become self-supporting. In other cases, the alimony will be paid over a much longer duration.

    As a rule of thumb, alimony is usually not going to be longer than half the length of the marriage in marriages lasting less than ten years, but as the marriage gets longer, the duration the alimony payments last typically extends.

    Although permanent alimony still exists in many states, the term is somewhat of a misnomer. As explained below, alimony payments usually stop once the person paying alimony gets to retirement age, or upon other major life events.

    How Much Does The Other Party In The Former Couple Need

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    The first factor that the lawyers and the judge will look at when determining how much alimony the responsible party s going to be required to pay is how much the other person in the former couple needs. Let us say, for example, that the ex-wife spent her years in the marriage as a stay at home wife or mother. After the couple separates, the wife will then need a substantial amount of income in order to survive. The Alimony lawyer will look at how much she needs to survive and come up with a fair number for the other spouse to pay.

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    Calculating Income For Alimony In Florida

    The income that you use in your calculation factors will help determine the correct amount of alimony that you may owe or receive. In order to get an accurate Florida alimony calculation, you must factor in all sources of income, including:

    • Employment income
    • Dividends and interest

    There is no specific formula that will get you a 100% accurate alimony calculation. For best results, hire a family attorney to help you determine the most appropriate amount.

    What Are The Pa Alimony Guidelines

    Here are the 17 alimony factors considered by the PA courts . During divorce mediation, these are thoroughly discussed to achieve the fairest alimony settlement possible.

    • The relative earnings of both spouses.
    • The duration of the marriage.
    • The ages and physical, mental and emotional states of the two spouses.
    • The sources of income of both spouses. This includes medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
    • The expected future earnings and inheritances of the two spouses.
    • The degree to which one spouse has contributed to the other spouses education, training or increased earning potential.
    • The degree to which a spouse will be financially affected by their position as the custodian of a minor child.
    • The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage.
    • The relative education of the parties. This also considers the amount of time it would take for the spouse seeking alimony to acquire the education or training necessary to find employment.
    • The relative assets and liabilities of the two spouses.
    • The property each spouse brought to the marriage.
    • The degree a spouse contributed as a homemaker.

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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.

    How To Collect Alimony Owed

    Changes to Floridas alimony law are on the table

    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.

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    Reaching A Fair Alimony Settlement Under Florida Divorce Law

    Unlike child support, there are no hard and fast mathematical calculations or formulas for alimony or spousal support. At Anne E. Raduns, P.A., we have represented the best interests of both husbands and wives in this challenging and sometimes contentious area ofdivorce law. In some cases, there is a presumption for alimony, and in some cases, there is a presumption against alimony. Most situations, however, fall into a gray area in which judges can use their own discretion when deciding whether to order alimony and how much to award.

    Whether you are seeking alimony, want to avoid paying, or simply want to ensure a fair spousal support agreement, we can help. Call us at to schedule a consultation with anexperienced divorce lawyer. We represent clients in Ocala, The Villages and throughout Central Florida.

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