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Is Alimony Really Necessary After Property Division?


Paying spouses often opine that alimony really isn’t necessary after the property division process. After all, if a spouse receives hundreds of thousands or even millions in a divorce settlement, isn’t that enough to cover their living expenses for the foreseeable future? This argument may have some logic behind it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the courts will share this point of view. So how do these kinds of situations work? How do assets affect spousal support?

Questions such as these are probably best left answered by a legal professional, such as a family law attorney in Florida. First of all, each case is unique, and general internet research will only get you so far. If you want real answers and targeted legal advice, you’re going to have to meet with a lawyer in a face-to-face consultation. Secondly, a lawyer can do more than just explain the situation – they can also actively guide you towards a positive resolution and limit your financial obligations whenever possible.

Sweeney v. Sweeney 

One of the most important alimony cases was Sweeney v. Sweeney in 2017. In this divorce, the husband argued that since the wife had received $1.2 million as a result of the property division process, she should be using these funds to support herself rather than receiving additional funds in alimony payments. However, the court disagreed and stated that:

“It would be inequitable to require ‘Wife’ to invade her only assets to support herself while ‘Husband’ may save and continue to draw a substantial salary and dividends from his company.”

In other words, any asset awarded during the property division process is considered completely separate from alimony. The general rule is that a spouse shouldn’t be required to become completely destitute and on the verge of homelessness before they finally “deserve” alimony. So if you’re hoping that a significant divorce settlement means that you won’t have to pay alimony, you might be disappointed.

For the record, the husband in Sweeney v. Sweeney never gave up, and tried to argue that the dividends and investment income on $1.2 should be more than enough to cover her living expenses. The courts were more lenient this time, but adopted an incredibly conservative number to represent these potential investment returns – 1.28%. In their defense, the court argued that it would be unreasonable to expect the wife to invest the entirety of the $1.2 million. In the end, the husband was ordered to pay the wife $5,000 per month – or about 15% of his total income.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

For help from a skilled Orlando family lawyer, reach out to Steve Marsee, P.A. We know that spousal support can be both confusing and daunting, and there’s no reason you should have to pay more than your fair share. With our help, you can strive for the best possible results and move into the next chapter of your life without unnecessary financial obligations weighing you down. Reach out today to review your legal options in full.



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