Five Factors That Can Affect an Alimony Award in Florida
Following the end of a marriage, one spouse may be obligated to pay the other alimony. Under Florida law, alimony is gender neutral, meaning either a husband or wife may potentially receive alimony. The amount and duration of any legally mandated alimony will always depend on the specific circumstances of the case in question. Here we have provided a list of five factors that will impact alimony in Florida.
- Length of the Marriage
When considering alimony, the first factor that must be examined is the length of the marriage. Typically, a Florida court will not award any alimony for a marriage that lasted for a very short period of time. On the other hand, for long-term marriages (those lasting for multiple decades), alimony is frequently awarded.
- Current Financial Resources of Each Party
Courts must also consider the current financial resources that are available to each party. This requires looking at the current assets and all sources of income of each spouse. Using this information, a court will be able to consider how much each party will need to maintain a reasonable lifestyle going forward, and an equitable alimony award can crafted.
- The Future Earning Ability of Each Party
Of course, Florida courts must look ahead when deciding on an alimony award. In this, the most important factor will be each party’s ability to earn a living in the future. This is relevant because in many cases the marriage itself impacted each spouse’s lifetime earning potential. For example, if one spouse quit their job ten years ago to help raise the children, it will clearly be somewhat challenging for that person to re-enter the workforce. This likely difficulty can be reflected in an alimony award.
- Child Support Obligations
A Florida court may order a spouse to pay both child support and alimony. In other words, the mere existence of child support obligations does not eliminate potential alimony obligations. However, when considering alimony, child support obligations must also be considered. Child support always takes precedence over alimony. In some cases, the child support obligations may make alimony financially difficult. In these cases, an alimony award might be reduced or even eliminated.
- Existence of a Supportive Relationship
Finally, Florida courts can also consider whether or not the spouse receiving alimony has entered into another ‘supportive relationship’. Technically, a supportive relationship can exist between any two people, including a parent or even friend to friend. Of course, supportive relationships most frequently exist in the romantic sense. If a former spouse has entered a supportive relationship will a new significant other, that can result in alimony obligations being reduced. Additionally, alimony is not necessarily permanent. If there has been a material change in circumstances, the paying spouse may seek an alimony modification.
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At Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., our family law team has extensive experience handling all sides of Florida alimony disputes. If you have any questions about alimony, divorce or any other family law issue, please give us a call today. From our office in Orlando, we proudly serve individuals and families throughout Central Florida.