Permanent Alimony In Florida
In a Florida divorce, there may be various elements involved. Alimony is one of them. Also known as spousal support, alimony is a legal obligation from one spouse to another. The higher earner may be ordered to financially support the other spouse after a divorce through a lump sum or monthly payments. While alimony is not a requirement in all divorce cases, it is an option to prevent a spouse from needing state assistance.
Florida is lenient when it comes to divorce. The state offers five types of alimony:
Four of these are short-term or temporary options. They are in place to help a spouse transition from married life to single life when they may have limited income. They receive alimony while they look for a new job or attend college to gain skills and education.
There is one form of alimony that stands out though: permanent alimony. As the name suggests, permanent alimony lasts foreverwell, until the payer or recipient dies. It also ends when the recipient remarries. It could also end when the recipient cohabitates with another person.
Permanent alimony worked better in the past, when women were less likely to work. Now, with many women outearning men, it is no longer a requirement for most marriages. But the tables have turned and nowadays, many women are now paying alimony to men. When it is allowed, it usually leaves the recipient living a comfortable lifestyle. Meanwhile, the payer is the one who struggles, especially near retirement age.
What Happens If The Paying Spouse Stops Paying
Under Florida law, court-ordered spousal support can be withheld from the paycheck of the party under an obligation to pay through a type of order called an Income Withholding Order. The money may also be ordered to be paid to Support Enforcement who will then pay the receiving spouse. If the paying spouse does not pay Support Enforcement as ordered, the driving privileges of the paying spouse could be suspended. There are also considerable remedies available under the contempt powers of the court. If a payor willingly does not comply with a prior court order the judge may suspend professional licenses, seize assets, or even order the arrest of the person refusing to pay. An experienced Ayo and Iken alimony attorney can thoroughly assess your individual circumstances, then give you an idea of whether you are entitled to spousal supportor whether you will be required to pay spousal support. Your attorney will fight for what you are owed, or, if you are likely to be the paying spouse, will attempt to limit the amount you are obligated to pay under Florida spousal support laws.
Reducing Your Risk Of Permanent Alimony
The length of the marriage matters a lot when determining permanent alimony. According to Florida law, if youve been married for more than 17 years, permanent alimony can be considered by the court, along with all the other factors mentioned above. So does that mean that once youre married for that long, you have to pay alimony forever?
The answer is no. Every case is different, and the 17-year threshold isnt a hard and fast rule. Fla. Stat. 61.08 provides the court with a bareboned legal framework for determining the outcome of your case, but it really is up to the court to decide. Of course, your income will be considered and any other circumstances and events including the needs of your spouse.
Once the court determines that there is a rebuttable presumption of permanent alimony, there is an opportunity to challenge that presumption. You can do this by presenting evidence that either you do not have the ability to pay or the other spouse does not actually need alimony. You may need to prove that even if youre the higher-earning spouse, you have assumed significant debt and liabilities that could leave you without the means to pay alimony.
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In Florida The Fight Over Alimony Can Be Brutal
- Leonora LaPeter AntonTimes staff
The judge stood in the windowless courtroom in Clearwater and stretched his back, attempting to sort through the latest accusations in the six-year divorce case of Dr. Mark Flood and Blake Taylor.
Taylor sat in a wheelchair, her face pale and thin, as her lawyer outlined her husbands failure to pay alimony for a year. Flood had started sending the payments again, but they were always late. Hed allowed her health insurance to lapse, and she has a circulation condition that causes her to faint often.
Flood, in a dark blazer and blue Oxford, looked ready to jump out of his chair. His temporary alimony payment of $22,000 a month seemed extraordinary but apparently not when compared with the former Laser Spine Institute surgeons million-dollar income.
Shes just trying to con another month out of me, he said angrily of Taylor.
Shes not sick, said David A. Maney, his attorney. Shes a faker.
She had no support for 12 months, Taylors attorney, Katherine C. Scott, countered. Every month sends her into a state of panic. Will she or will she not receive support this month?
Behind, a handful of women sat quietly, sporting court watcher stickers.
They were first wives, former homemakers in their 50s and 60s who relied on permanent alimony after decades of marriage and raising kids. All had sat where Taylor was sitting, their post-divorce lives a far cry from the ones their exes incomes had once provided.
Does Adultery Affect Alimony
Florida is commonly referred to as a no-fault divorce state. Under Florida divorce law, you dont need to prove adultery or other reasons for a divorce. See Florida divorce law 61.052. All Florida law requires is there be irreconcilable differences to obtain a divorce. Therefore, adultery will usually not be relevant to a judges determination for permanent alimony in Florida. However, if marital assets were used to further the adulterous relationship, it can be considered during the divorce. The funds used on the relationship may be viewed as a waste and be a credit awarded to the innocent spouse.
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Penalties For Not Paying Child Support Or Alimony In Florida
- Penalties for Not Paying Child Support or Alimony in Florida
Every parent has an obligation to financially support their children. Short of your agreement to pay the amount determined by the Florida guidelines, a court may order one parent to make monthly payments to the other parent.
Regarding alimony, or spousal support, one party who is the higher wage earner may, under certain circumstances, be ordered to make monthly payments to the other party following a separation, during a divorce or after divorce proceedings unless the parties can agree otherwise. The payments are to help the recipient party gain marketable skills or at least to maintain the standard of living to which they had become accustomed, depending on the marriage duration and other factors.
Failing to pay alimony or child support pursuant to a court order is civil contempt. If you are the recipient party, you can file a motion for civil contempt and to enforce the support obligation. In order for the other party to be held in contempt, one must show that a court order is in effect, that the other party has not paid the ordered support, and that the delinquent party has the ability to pay it. The paying parent has the burden of showing that he or she lacks the present ability to make the mandated payments.
Nonpayment of Child Support or Alimony
Request a Modification in Support
Modification of Alimony
You can request a modification in alimony based on a material change of circumstances such as:
Pick Apart Your Wifes Spending Needs
This is the death by 1000 cuts approach to fighting alimony.
And it works.
You simply go through all of your Wifes expenditures and fight the little things. Lots of little expenses equal a big alimony payment.
For example, your Wife may estimate $100 a month for hair. But you go back and review expenses for the last two years and determine that the monthly expense is only $80.
Now, it seems crazy to fight over $20. But $20 a month is $240 a year. If youre looking at permanent alimony and you have an average life expectancy of 40 years remaining then that $240 has a an estimate future value of $9,600.
You then see that your Wife is claiming she needs $800 a month for eating out. But you know that your Wife is double dipping because she eats out more than half the time with the children. Your Wifes expense, then, is sizably less.
You can attack off of these expenses individually. It takes effort and time but the pay off makes it worthwhile.
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How Is Alimony Calculated In Florida
The two primary factors the court must consider in determining the amount of alimony are the need of the payee spouse and the ability of the paying spouse to pay. The court may impute income to a spouse who is earning less than the spouse is capable of earning through his or her best efforts.
To impute income means that the court will pretend that the spouse is earning a certain amount of income for purposes of calculating the amount of alimony needed or the amount the paying spouse is able to pay.
Classifying Need And Ability To Pay
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Dont Agree To Subsidize Your Wifes Future Savings Or Gifting
In the same vein, alimony recipients like to add in inappropriate expenses that Florida law does not support.
Remember, alimony is for your spouse. Not for the children, friends, or the church.
Whats more, alimony is supposed to cover the needs as they are. Alimony does not cover something extra so that your spouse can put money in retirement or in a 401K.
Thoroughly look for expenses that have a kid component to them. Travel expenses, eating expenses, and household goods are major places to look.
Look for expenses related to gifts. Think birthday parties, Christmas gifts, and church donations.
Finally look for money that your spouse intends to put towards savings or retirement.
And dig in and fight these parts of the alimony request.
The law is on your side.
How Inheritances Impact Alimony Payments
Inherited wealth is usually given to one individual with the intention that it stays with that individual. This can be accomplished through a prenuptial agreement or a family trust, keeping the inherited monies out of a joint account and, therefore, away from the soon-to-be ex-spouse.
If a divorcing couple has assets or is expected an inheritance, a family law professional is your best ally in crafting an agreement to avoid negatively affecting your financial goals.
Inherited monies are generally considered a nonmarital asset, therefore not subject to division. However, if the monies are converted to a marital asset, they could be divided, whether the transfer was intentional or unintentional.
Through an interspousal gift, a nonmarital asset can be converted to a marital asset, therefore subject to equitable distribution. If the gift involves real estate, the title to the property is not a factor in determining an interspousal contribution because Florida is not a title theory state.
Transmutation describes a property converted from ones separate property into a marital asset. For example, if one of the spouses owned the property before the marriage, but it is titled in both partners names after marriage, its now a marital asset, therefore subject to division.
The descendants can enter into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to manage the inherited wealth, though the couple may not be willing to have their finances micromanaged.
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How To Avoid A Runaway Alimony Award In Florida
Register and subscribe now to work with legal documents online. Jun 07, 2021 · florida law rvd for five dffrnt t of alimony: Get access to the largest online library of legal forms for any state. Pdffiller.com has been visited by 1m+ users in the past month Register and subscribe now to work with legal documents online. When a marriage lasts longer than 17 years, the higher earner may be ordered to pay the other spouse for life. How much can the needy. A lawyer will answer in minutes! A lawyer will answer in minutes! Justanswer.com has been visited by 100k+ users in the past month How much does the needy spouse need in alimony? Free information and preview, prepared forms for you, trusted by legal professionals Get access to the largest online library of legal forms for any state.
How can you avoid this obligation? Justanswer.com has been visited by 100k+ users in the past month Help your spouse succeed in the workforce. What’s the best way to avoid paying alimony? Jun 11, 2021 · under florida law, permanent alimony is prohibited when the receiving spouse’s income, including the receipt of alimony, exceeds the income of the paying spouse.
How The Length Of Your Marriage May Affect Your Award Of Spousal Support
A marriage lasting between 7 and 17 years can go either way, depending on the disparity in income and the need of one spouse, as well as the specific circumstances of the marriage. Keep in mind, the length of the marriage is from the date of the actual marriage until the date one spouse files for divorcenot the date when the couple informally separated, or stopped living with one another.
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What Are The Different Types Of Alimony In Florida
Permanent: Permanent alimony is alimony for support until the remarriage of the payee spouse or the death of either party. Permanent alimony is always modifiable with a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.
Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative alimony is intended to provide assistance to a spouse while he or she regains the ability or establishes the capacity for self support. The party seeking rehabilitative alimony for retraining has the burden of proof as to the retraining plan, the object of rehabilitation, the cost of the plan, the period necessary to complete the plan, and how the plan is workable to make the party self supporting.
Bridge-the-Gap: Bridge-the-Gap alimony is an award for a specific short duration to assist the spouse with the transition from married life to single life and is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs. The length of the award may not exceed 2 years. The award of this type of alimony is non-modifiable.
Lump-Sum: Lump-Sum alimony is a certain sum paid at one time or installments and the court will order this type of alimony only when an award of permanent alimony is justified and the court finds special circumstances warranting a lump-sum payment such as if the paying spouse is in poor health.
Alimony may be taxable to the payee spouse and deductible by the paying spouse. Retroactive alimony may be awarded back to the date of filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
Can Florida Alimony Be Modified
Under Florida divorce law, you can modify alimony in Florida if there has been a substantial, material, and unexpected change in circumstances that was not contemplated when the amount of alimony was initially set. The modification can either increase, decrease, or terminate the amount of alimony. Usually, a petition to modify permanent alimony, durational alimony, or rehabilitative alimony will have to be filed in the same court where the divorce was filed.
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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.
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