Gender and Alimony: Who Gets It, Who Pays It, What’s Changing
The old stereotype is that when a couple divorces, the woman never has to work again because her former husband has to pay her alimony unless and until she remarries. This is not actually accurate – most divorcing individuals do not receive alimony, and of those who do, few receive permanent alimony. The truth is that determining an alimony order is a complicated process and that an individual’s gender has no bearing on whether he or she is entitled to receive alimony after his or her divorce.
Alimony Statistics that Show Our Changing Demographics
Today, it is far less common for anybody, male or female, to receive alimony after divorce than it was in the past. In the 1960s, 25 percent of divorce settlements included alimony orders. Now, this figure is closer to 10 percent.
Women are still the primary alimony recipients, but the number of men who receive alimony from their former spouses is increasing. According to the 2000 census, 0.5 percent of alimony recipients in the United States were male. By 2010, 3 percent of the 400,000 alimony recipients in the country were male.
How is Alimony Calculated in Florida?
Under Florida law, an individual’s gender is not to be considered when determining an appropriate alimony order for him or her. Neither is the gender of his or her spouse – individuals exiting same sex marriages have the same exact rights to alimony and other court consideration as heterosexual couples.
When the court determines whether alimony is appropriate for an individual and if so, the duration and amount appropriate for him or her, it considers a variety of factors that include:
- The length of the couple’s marriage;
- Each partner’s financial contributions to the marriage;
- The income disparity between the couple;
- Each partner’s age and health;
- Each partner’s realistic employability chances based on his or her skills and experience;
- If the couple has a child support order, how much one parent is paying the other in child support;
- The standard of living established during the couple’s marriage; and
- Each partner’s non-economic contributions to the marriage.
The court has much more leeway when calculating an alimony order than it has when determining an appropriate child support order. Child support orders are determined according to a specific state formula that the court can only deviate from when extreme circumstances apply. Conversely, the court has the discretion to weigh certain factors more heavily than others when developing an alimony order.
Work with an Experienced Orlando Alimony Lawyer
If you think an alimony order should or will be part of your divorce settlement, discuss your case with an experienced Orlando divorce lawyer before you file your divorce petition so you fully understand how alimony orders are created in Florida and what to expect from your case. To get started with the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., contact our office to schedule your initial consultation.