Articles Posted in Alimony

From the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar:

As the start of the 2013 legislative session approaches, one of the items for debate among advocates will be Florida’s alimony statutes. Florida currently enjoys some of the most progressive alimony laws in the nation and the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar has worked closely with members of the legislature to pass good public policy that is fair and equitable to all parties. As a result of the efforts of the Section through changes made to the alimony statutes in 2010 and 2011, fewer cases are litigated and more are settled.

“The Family Law Section believes any new legislation should set a reasonable approach toward improvements,” said Carin M. Porras, chair of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar. “In the upcoming legislative session, we will be working to educate policy makers and the general public to clarify misconceptions about Florida’s alimony statutes; misconceptions such as permanent alimony payors are prohibited from retiring or the income of a second husband or wife creates a basis for an upward modification of alimony.”

Alimony can be one of the most contentious issues in a Florida divorce. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is designed to provide the lower-income spouse with money for living expenses over and above the money provided by child support. Spousal support differs from child support in that child support is a simple mathematical calculation using guidelines published by the state, where as spousal support is discretionary and requires balancing multiple factors.

Though there is certainly no rule saying so, it is generally seen as rare that spousal support is awarded in marriages that lasted only a few years. It is also rare to see it awarded in cases where the incomes of the parties are close to equal. Alimony is typically reserved for situations where one spouse has been economically dependent on the other for most of a lengthy marriage. Again though, this is not a hard and fast rule and exceptions do exist, especially when one party’s bad behavior was responsible for the dissolution of the marriage.

There is a possibility of rehabilitative alimony for shorter marriages. Rehabilitative support is a means that some courts use when one of the spouses needs some time to transition back into the job market. The court can order modest alimony for a set period of time to allow the other spouse to finish school or get back to work and get on his or her feet.

According to new data the trend known as “grey divorce” appears to be picking up steam. The numbers of senior divorces in the country continues to grow and with the baby boomers aging the amount will likely rise even faster.

Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin at Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family & Marriage Research Center conducted research that indicated the divorce rate among those over 50 years old had doubled between 1990 and 2009. This shocking figure was true even for those over the age of 65, proving that it is not a phenomenon limited to divorce-prone boomers.

These same researches are predicting that the trend will only continue to escalate. The reason is that those who have already been through one marriage and are now remarried are more than 2.5 times more likely to divorce again than those who are still on their first marriage.

Every person in the state of Florida, who is either thinking about getting married, engaged, or already married is concerned about the battle over the state’s alimony laws. WJHG.com recently reported about a man, who wished to remain anonymous, that was required to continue to pay his ex-wife $2000 in alimony payment even though he had been injured in an accident and could not even pay his medical bills. Despite his obvious change in financial circumstances, he is still required by law to meet his alimony obligations because Florida is one of the few states in the nation that allows for permanent alimony.

Because of these laws, the Florida Alimony Reform Group has surfaced and has made the reformation of Florida’s alimony laws its primary purpose. Their website states their legislative and political goals. One of the goals is to limit the amount of discretion that judges have in awarding alimony in divorce cases. The group believes that antiquated attitudes regarding gender roles and stereotypes have influenced the way that Florida adjudicates alimony claims. The group expresses its concerns in the following way: “While divorces in Florida are technically ‘no-fault,’ they reflect attitudes and realities from America in the 1950s, when the divorcing husband was the sole breadwinner and always considered ‘the bad guy’ in divorce, while the wife was considered ‘the helpless victim.’ These antiquated stereotypes still drive much of what happens in the state’s family courts. Because of these laws and attitudes, it is common for healthy, employed women in their 30s and 40s to receive permanent alimony.”

This year, the Florida Alimony Reform Group suffered a major setback when it proposed legislation that would drastically reform the state’s alimony provisions, but the bill failed to pass the Senate. Now the group must wait for at least one year before it hopes to see any changes in the alimony laws. The family law section of the Florida Bar is prepared to fight to support the law as it is now.

When deciding whether to grant alimony in a divorce case, courts in Jacksonville, Florida consider many factors, including the length of the marriage, the spouses’ employment prospects, the age of each party, their standard of living, their marital contributions, their available income and assets, and the fairness of the situation.

Generally, the shorter you’ve been married, the less likely you will be awarded alimony. Similarly, age is important. If one of the spouses is about to retire, alimony might be more likely.

Jacksonville, Florida courts also consider marital contributions. You might complain that your spouse watched TV all day for twelve years while you worked fifty hours a week. You might think this means your spouse should not be entitled to alimony; however, the court will likely not consider this in granting alimony. Similarly, if your spouse ran up huge credit card debt, he or she may still be entitled to alimony. The court might look more favorably to you, however, if those debts were ran up without your knowledge.

heidi klum.jpgThree months after announcing an amicable separation, super model Heidi Klum officially filed for divorce from husband Seal this past Friday. Klum, 38, cited the typical divorce language, “irreconcilable differences,” in her Los Angeles County divorce papers.

Reports are suggesting that Klum has requested to be awarded primary physical custody of the couple’s four children; Leni 7, Henry 6, Johan 5 and Lou 2. Also it is believed the parties had a prenuptial agreement in place prior to saying their vows. Only time will tell if this will be an amicable divorce or whether we’ll see another nasty celebrity divorce.

If you’re considering filing for divorce and want to know how to proceed, contact an Orange Park Divorce Attorney today to schedule a free consultation.

bubba.jpgIn September 2011, after 4 1/2 years of marriage shock jock, Bubba the Love Spounge Clem, filed for divorce from his wife, Heather Dawn the Love Spounge Clem, stating the marriage was “irretrievably broken and should be dissolved.” With Bubba having a net worth estimated to be in the millions one would think that the divorce would be highly contested. Not to mention the fact that Bubba is known for making harsh and outrageous comments that often end up stirring up controversy.

However, prior to the 2007 nuptials the parties entered into a prenuptial agreement. And as of a February 13th settlement agreement it appears as though the parties’ assets were divided up pursuant to the prenuptial agreement. Bubba’s now ex wife will receive $1,150 a month in alimony payments lasting for a total of 56 months. She also will receive a one time lump sum payment of $20,000.

Further, both parties agreed, “not to interfere with, annoy, molest or harass the other party or disparage the other party in public,” with special mention made of speaking “on air” about each other. Bubba even went to his twitter account to urge his followers not to disparage his now ex wife.

You may have heard the story of Crystal Harris, a woman in California who was sexually assaulted by her husband. Ms. Harris pressed charges, and her husband was convicted of sexual assault in part because of a recording that caught the audio of the ordeal.

Spousal rape cases, however, are typically very difficult to prosecute. Ms. Harris’s husband was convicted only of sexual assault; the jury was unable to reach a verdict on two other charges, including spousal rape. The most heartbreaking aspect of Ms. Harris’s story was how the court handled the legal fees: the judge ordered her to pay the husband’s legal bills from the divorce and, even worse, she was forced to pay alimony from their divorce. In other words, she was forced to pay money to the man she had just divorced because of his sexually abusive behavior.

Of course, many people were outraged when they heard about the situation. In California, the family law code currently provides that a judge can consider the criminal conviction in adjusting spousal support, but a spouse convicted of attempted murder will not receiving anything. Lawmakers are trying to change that language to disallow spousal support for any spouse convicted of any violent felony.

michael jordan.jpgEver wonder how much some celebrities have paid their spouses in their divorces? As an Amelia Island Divorce Attorney I know I have. See listed below the 10 most expensive celebrity divorces:

10 – Michael Douglas and Diandra Douglas in 1988. Diandra received $45 million when they split in 2000

9 – Phil Collins and Orianne Cevey in 2003. The couple split in 2008 cost Collins almost $47 million

8 – Paul McCartney and Heather Mills finalized their divorce in 2008. Heather walked away with $48.6 million

7 – James Cameron and Linda Hamilton hold some of ‘Titanic’s’ 11 Oscars in 1998. The couple split and Linda left with $50 million in 1999

6 – Madonna’s divorce from Guy Ritchie cost between $76 million and $92 million

5 – Cindy Silva and Kevin Coster in 1992. The couple split in 1994 to the tune of $80 million

4 – Melissa Mathison and Harrison Ford in 1998. The couple split in 2004 and Mathison walked away with $85 million

3 – Amy Irving and Steven Spielberg meet Princess Diana in 1985. Amy and Steven split in 1989 and she left the marriage with $100 million

2 – Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey in 1975. the couple split in the ’90s and Marcia left the marriage with $150 million

1 – Michael Jordan and Juanita Jordan in 2000. Juanita received $168 million when they split in 2007.

You may not be as wealthy as the above listed celebrities but I’d bet you still don’t want to lose a substantial amount of money in your divorce. If so, contact an Amelia Island Divorce Attorney today to schedule a free consultation.

gavel.jpgWhen deciding whether to grant alimony in a divorce case, courts in Yulee, Florida consider many factors, including the length of the marriage, the spouses’ employment prospects, the age of each party, their standard of living, their marital contributions, their available income and assets, and the fairness of the situation.

Generally, the shorter you’ve been married, the less likely you will be awarded alimony. Similarly, age is important. If one of the spouses is about to retire, alimony might be more likely.

As a Yulee Divorce Lawyer I know Yulee, Florida courts also consider marital contributions. You might complain that your spouse watched TV all day for twelve years while you worked fifty hours a week. You might think this means your spouse should not be entitled to alimony; however, the court will likely not consider this in granting alimony. Similarly, if your spouse ran up huge credit card debt, he or she may still be entitled to alimony. The court might look more favorably to you, however, if those debts were ran up without your knowledge.

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