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Is Florida An Alimony State

Can Permanent Alimony Be Modified Or Terminated

Florida House subcommittee approves alimony reform bill

In some cases, permanent alimony may be modified or terminated when the payer reaches retirement age or becomes unemployed for an extended period of time. It can also be modified if financial circumstances change for the recipient spouse. For example, if he or she receives an inheritance or wins the lottery, alimony may be terminated. Also, under Florida law, permanent alimony is not allowed when the recipient spouses income is more than the income of the payer spouse.

Under Florida law, a person does not necessarily have to be married for their alimony payments to end. The courts have the discretion to end alimony if the recipient spouse is in a supportive relationship. This may mean cohabitating with another person who is paying for expenses. However, the term is vague so that the court can make a decision on a case-by-case basis. They will see how much money the recipient spouse is receiving from this relationship before making a decision.

Length Of Your Marriage And Alimony

The most important factor for alimony is how long you were married. As the length of the marriage increases, alimony is more likely. But all of the other factors must also support an alimony judgment. The time is counted from your marriage date until the date of the divorce petition.

The probability you will pay or receive alimony by number of years married

4 years

almost definite

Alimony in Florida is one of the more unpredictable areas of family law. Unlike child support, there is not a guarantee of alimony, nor a set amount if alimony is granted by the court. You can have the same set of facts and get 10 different decisions in 10 different courts. Some states have alimony guidelines but not Florida. Florida alimony statutes require the judge to consider a list of factors when deciding the issue of alimony. Each factor is shown above. Unlike other states, Florida does not embrace the concept of legal separation. That means alimony is rarely, if ever, granted unless a couple is going through the divorce process.

Factors In Spousal Support / Alimony Determinations

The court will take various factors into consideration when determining an alimony award. These factors are:

  • The parties’ prior standard of living
  • Length of the marriage
  • Physical and emotional condition of both spouses
  • Financial resources of each spouse
  • Income-earning capacity of each spouse
  • Income-producing capacity of the assets each spouse receives
  • The time necessary to acquire education or training for appropriate employment
  • Services rendered by homemaking, child rearing and education and career building of the other spouse.
  • Also, although Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to divorces, the spouses’ fault, or lack thereof, may be assessed or factored into the court’s decision when awarding alimony.

    Also Check: Is Alimony Taxable In Florida

    Do I Have To Pay Alimony In Florida

    When determining an alimony award, there is no specific mathematical formula under Florida divorce law. Instead, the judge will apply a two-part test based on the details of each case. The first part of the test determines whether or not the party requesting alimony needs financial support. If a need is proven, the next step is to determine if the other party can pay alimony. Both the need and ability to pay must be shown with evidence. Satisfying only one part of the test will not be sufficient to receive alimony. If alimony is awarded, the alimony payment should be enough to support the spouses standard of living.

    Typically, the most important factors are the length of the marriage and the income earning capacity of each spouse. Reeves v. Reeves. The standard of living experienced during the marriage and the health and economic positions of each spouse will also be factors. The judge may also consider the contributions each spouse made during the marriage. See Florida Statute 61.08.

    Multiple Types Of Alimony Available In Florida

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    Florida provides five types of alimony: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent. Couples can negotiate the terms of the alimony award, including the type, duration, and amount of support. However, if you can’t agree, the judge will evaluate your circumstances and decide for you.

    Temporary support is available to a needy spouse during the divorce proceedings. Before the court orders support, the requesting spouse must demonstrate a need for support and that the other spouse has the ability to pay. Temporary support will help the lower-earning spouse remain financially stable during the lengthy divorce process and ends when the judge finalizes the divorce.

    Florida is one of few states that offer bridge-the-gap alimony, which helps the recipient spouse meet legitimate short-term needs while transitioning from married to single. For example, the needy spouse may use the support to pay bills while waiting for the marital home to sell, or to meet other living expenses while attempting to find full-time work after the divorce. Bridge-the-gap support can’t exceed two years and terminates if the paying spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries. .)

    Florida is one of few states that offer bridge-the-gap alimony, which helps the recipient spouse meet legitimate short-term needs while transitioning from married to single.

    Recommended Reading: Is Alimony The Same As Spousal Support

    How Is Alimony Award Determined

    A family law judge has the mandate of determining who receives alimony. The decision on who will get the alimony award lies on the state laws and several factors such as the marital standards of living, the duration of the marriage, child support, who was at fault at the time of the divorce among others.

    Child Support And Alimony

    Most paying parties look at child support and alimony as the same thing. However, the court looks at these things separately.

    Alimony is the obligation a paying spouse needs to fulfill to their ex-spouse to help them get back on their feet. On the other hand, child support is the amount involved in raising a child. This covers food expenses, clothes, and other essential things a child needs to grow. If children are involved, courts can order child support and alimony simultaneously.

    Also Check: Questions To Ask Before Divorce

    Divorce Adultery And Alimony Requests In Florida

    Florida Statute 61.09 states that a paying spouse may be liable to pay alimony even if the couple is not divorced. The state doesnt recognize legal separation, unlike many states. However, alimony can still be pursued even if a couple is not legally divorced. The alimony under this statute supports the continuation of the marriage and provides a possibility of reconciliation in the future .

    A married couple still has a legal duty to help each other financially. That means a court may still order spousal support even if the couple is separated. The amount of alimony should be appropriate to the standard of living that the receiving party enjoyed during the couples marriage .

    For filing a divorce in Florida, the state law requires at least one of the spouses to be a state resident for six months before the divorce petition. However, when talking about durational alimony requirements, residency is not necessary .

    The state of Florida is known as a no-fault divorce state. This means under the states divorce law, an individual doesnt need to provide or prove any reason, such as adultery, to facilitate a divorce. So, the act of cheating, for instance, will play a minor role in a permanent alimony request.

    How Much Is Alimony In Florida

    Florida Legislature Considering Two Alimony Reform Bills

    As mentioned before, alimony is calculated based on the need of the oblige and the obligators ability to pay. The American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers provides a guideline, which takes 30% of the obligors gross annual income minus 20% of the obliges gross annual income to estimate an alimony obligation. Florida judges have broad discretion when it comes to determining alimony amounts.

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    Help Your Spouse Succeed In The Workforce

    So at its heart alimony is about answering these questions:

  • How much does the needy spouse need in Alimony?
  • How much can the needy spouse contribute to her own need?
  • What is the difference between the needy spouses need and her ability to contribute to her need?
  • You can use our Florida alimony calculator to help you with your alimony calculation. The difference between needy spouses needs and the amount she can contribute to her need is the amount of alimony that will be paid by the breadwinner spouse. Provided he makes enough money to pay that amount.

    Therefore, helping your spouse succeed in the workforce is the best way to reduce or eliminate your need to pay alimony.

    If youre still married then actively encourage your spouse to get working and devote herself to her career. Does she want to go to school or learn job skills? Then make it happen.

    Note that this is especially true for the classic American arrangement where the Husband goes off to work and the Wife stays home and raised the children. But even in the modern age of dual income earners, the more money she makes the less likely you will have to pay spousal support upon a divorce.

    Legislation Underway To Reform Florida Alimony Laws

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Efforts to reform Floridas alimony laws are moving quickly in the state Capitol. The legislation abolishes permanent alimony and sets up a formula based on the length of a marriage, but it also contains a clause that has sunk reform efforts in the past.

    Permanent alimony would end under the legislation. It would be replaced with a formula based on the length of a marriage.

    And for the first time, the change is being supported by the Family Law section of the Florida Bar. Philip Wartenberg is the Family Law Chair Elect.

    This is something the section has historically opposed, but we believe the time has come to move away from this concept of permanent alimony, Wartenberg told the committee.

    The most controversial provision says child custody issues begin with a presumption that parents will share time equally.

    What would happen is you will have a huge hurdle, this presumption, before you even get to the 20 factors Wartenberg said.

    Before the bill was approved by the House Civil Justice Sub Committee sponsor Jenna Persons-Mulicka said there was one goal:

    To insure that this leads to a better system that provides predictability. That provides certainty and fairness.

    Anna Eskamani voted no.

    When you have a fifty-fifty assumption, it can tie a judges hands, Eskamani said.

    The sponsor twice refused to talk with us about the legislation.

    And Barbara Devane of Florida NOW warned the threat of child sharing is often used as leverage.

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    Enforcing A Cohabitation Agreement

    Establishing a cohabitation agreement requires the couple to make sure that there are disclosures in the agreement that both parties sign in the presence of a notary.

    Should a couple ever need to modify the agreement, both parties should agree to make the changes in writing. They can also draft a new document and disclose that the new cohabitation agreement renders the first null and void.

    Florida Spousal Support Laws: Calculating Alimony

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    Couples in Florida can negotiate their terms for alimony in very specific ways including the type, duration, and amount of support. Heres what you need to know about Florida spousal support laws.

    If divorcing spouses cannot come to an agreement on their own, a judge will evaluate the circumstances and decide for them.

    Read Also: Divorce In The United States

    Which Factors Determine How Much Alimony I Will Receive

    Once need and ability to pay is established, the court will review specific criteria, 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 the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.

    • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.

    • The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.

    • The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.

    • The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.

    • All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.

    • Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

    For a complete list of the factors considered when awarding alimony, please refer to Florida Statute § 61.08.

    Florida Spousal Support Or Alimony Laws

    Created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors| Last updated June 20, 2016

    Alimony or “spousal support” is a type of payment that may be ordered for one spouse to pay to the other after a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to alleviate any unfair economic burdens that may befall the lower-wage-earning spouse or the non-wage-earning spouse after a divorce takes place.

    In Florida, alimony is determined after the court has equitably distributed the couple’s assets and liabilities. Once that division is made, the court will delve into determining whether alimony ought to be paid, by whom and to whom, and what amount, if any. Spousal support can be granted to either the husband or the wife. FindLaw also provides state-specific links to alimony court forms and instructions.

    Recommended Reading: How Long Does Alimony Last In Florida

    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.

    A Qualified Florida Family Lawyer Can Help

    Tips for filing alimony in Florida

    If you think your alimony case may turn out to be an issue in your Florida divorce case, consulting an experienced Florida Family Lawyer is crucial. The attorney may help present your family law case and demonstrate that there is the ability to pay alimony in your situation.

    Conversely, if your spouse requests alimony, your attorney will present some of the statutory factors that are available to you. These factors may lead lower alimony or no alimony for your case.

    Get Accurate Calculation Of Alimony Using Our Free Alimony Calculator

    Our alimony calculator takes into consideration all the factors that Florida State Laws deem necessary when calculating spousal support. Therefore, you can be sure that our free alimony calculator will give you the accurate amount that you will need to pay as alimony. Get in touch with us today or visit our website to use our free alimony calculator

    Also Check: New York State Council On Divorce Mediation

    Florida Divorce Law Requirement For Permanent Alimony

    Florida applies a two-part test to determine alimony, the need & ability test. The first part of the test is to establish if there is a need for alimony. The term need does not mean basic living expenses, such as rent, food, and clothing. Instead, the term need refers to the standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage. See Griffin v. Griffin. It is important to note, need can include many things that most of us would consider luxuries. See Firestone v. Firestone. Once the need is established, the spouse will then have to prove that the other spouse can pay the alimony sought.

    Child Support Vs Alimony

    Some ex-spouses may be dismayed to learn that the court can order one spouse to pay alimony and child support, assuming that the divorcing couple has children. The obligor spouse may feel this is inappropriate since his or her ex-spouse is essentially being paid twice. It must be remembered, though, that child support are payments that are made to help pay for the costs of raising children , whereas alimony is for the benefit of the receiving spouse. Because each type of support is meant for a different person, a court is free to award both types of support.

    Remember, though, that while child support must be awarded in any divorce case in which there is at least one minor child, an alimony award is discretionary and a court has the freedom to award alimony in an amount it feels appropriate based upon the facts and factors before the court.

    Read Also: How Does Alimony Work In Ny

    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.

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