Articles Posted in Spousal Support

On November 11, 2011 I wrote a blog titled, “Sexual Assault Victim Ordered to Pay Her Attacker Alimony.” In the blog I described how Crystal Harris, a San Diego area resident, was ordered to pay alimony to her ex husband whom was serving time in prison for sexual assault. Worst part about this is that Crystal was the victim of the sexual assault her ex-husband was convicted of.

This case has received a lot of attention from many across the nation, including California lawmakers. For example, Toni Atkins, a Sacramento, California Assemblymember, has introduced legislation to prevent future cases like that of Crystal Harris. The bill, AB 1522, would add violent sex felonies to the list of convictions that disqualify a person from obtaining financial benefits from their ex-spuse in a divorce proceeding.

Atkins stated in a article,”The current law allowing rapists to demand payment from their spouses in a divorce is unjust.” “Victims of violent sex crimes already suffer physical trauma, fear, and an assault on their privacy and dignity. To require them also to pay their abuser alimony or to give them a share of their pension or household goods is cruel and makes a mockery of the intent behind the laws governing the fair division of assets in a divorce.” has recently posted an article titled, “Times have changed, so should alimony.”

The article tackles the issue of permanent alimony in Florida and its, often considered, archaic reasoning.

Currently, Florida Statute 61.08 reads, “Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage.”

alimony2.jpgAs a Family Law Attorney in the Jacksonville Beach area I am consistently asked how the courts calculate alimony. This is often a difficult question to answer.

In Jacksonville Florida there is no basic calculation system that the courts follow; instead, there are factors that are taken into consideration when determining whether to award and how much to award in alimony.

These factors include:

News stations out of San Diego, California are reporting on an interesting case that caught my attention. Crystal Harris, a Carlsbad, California resident was raped by Shawn Harris, her now ex-husband, yet the Judge in their divorce case awarded Shawn $1,000 a month in spousal support (Alimony). So when Shawn gets out of prison for the felony he committed against Crystal, Crystal will have to pay him $1,000 a month!

How could this have happened? Well, under California law, “there is only one way Crystal Harris could have avoided paying her ex-husband: if he had tried to kill her”. After presiding over the parties’ divorce, Family Law Court Judge Gregory Pollock stated, “I can’t look at a 12-year marriage where one side is making $400 a month, the other side is making over $11,000 and say no spousal support, that would be an abuse of discretion.”

San Diego County District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis is currently petitioning California lawmakers to address and change this loophole so something like this doesn’t happen again.

divorce money.jpgAs a Jacksonville Divorce Attorney I am all to familiar with the topics discussed in Georgialee Lang’s article, 5 Support Arguments That Don’t Matter in Divorce Court. In the article, Ms. Lang lists and describes what she deems to be the five most common complaints in divorce cases. Ms. Lang lists the complaints as follows:

(1) My wife left me to move in with her boyfriend, why do I have to pay her spousal support?

(2) My ex spouse has remarried, why do I still have to pay spousal support?

401k.jpgWhen a family is going through a divorce it can be one of the toughest times in a person’s life. Concerns range from child support, alimony, and distribution of assets and liabilities. Many people find themselves so caught up in the emotion of their case that they can overlook very important considerations. That being said, let’s look at a specific example of oversight that could potentially cost a person thousands of dollars.

Say husband and wife are getting a divorce, and at issue is the support due wife after the dissolution. Wife, in her settlement agreement, gets husband to agree to give her a portion of his 401(k), let’s say $50,000, and in turn waives her right to any alimony that she could potentially qualify for. Unfortunately, wife’s attorney forgets to account for taxes inherent in 401(k)’s, and instead of negotiating the taxes into the agreement, the wife ends up paying nearly 30% in tax on the settlement, $15,000. With careful negotiation the husband might have agreed to account for those taxes, thus giving the wife the full value of her settlement.

Issues like the one seen above can be avoided by carefully choosing a Florida Divorce Lawyer who will represent you. An experienced Florida Divorce Lawyer is sure to take the important tax implications into consideration before presenting a proposed final agreement. Contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer to discuss the facts surrounding your case today.

Alimony.jpegFlorida recognizes Five types of Alimony, which include:

Permanent Alimony provides for ongoing monthly payments until the death or remarriage of the recipient. Recent changes in the law allow modifications in cases of “cohabitation in a financially supportive relationship,” even without remarriage.

Durational Alimony is awarded to provide the receiving party with financial assistance during a period of time following the marriage, and may be modified or terminated. Durational alimony may not be awarded for a period of time exceeding the length of the marriage.

cheating.jpegFlorida is a “no fault” divorce state, meaning that either spouse may seek a divorce without showing cause for the desired separation. The spouse seeking a divorce has the option to simply claim the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Generally, Florida courts are not concerned with which party played the greater role in causing the divorce.

As a Jacksonville Divorce Attorney, I am often asked how a cheating spouse factors into a divorce in Florida. While adulterous conduct does not factor into the court’s decision to grant a divorce, it can impact other important issues raised in a divorce.

In child custody battles, a court considers the “moral fitness” of a parent seeking custody. Evidence of adulterous conduct can lower a party’s level of “moral fitness,” and decrease his or her chances of receiving custody. However, it is not an absolute bar to child custody. Often times, a larger impact will be whether the adultery had an adverse impact on the child.

wallet with money.jpgAs a Jacksonville, Florida spousal support attorney, many of my cases involve paying spousal support also known as alimony or receiving alimony in Florida. There are several factors that the courts in Florida use to determine whether an award of alimony in Jacksonville, Florida can be granted. Alimony in Florida is primarily based on need AND ability to pay. If this first prong can be established then the courts move on to the other factors involved in making a determination of whether to make the award or not. If you are facing having to pay alimony or if you are concerned that you need alimony, then you must contact a Jacksonville, Florida alimony lawyer to help assure that you are protected.

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