WHAT FACTORS DOES A COURT CONSIDER WHEN AWARDING ALIMONY IN FLORIDA?

The end of a marriage can be a trying time, both emotionally and financially.  For many people, fundamental aspects of their daily life will change dramatically, including where they live, how often they see their children, their day-to-day routine, and even whether or not they have a job.  In some cases, one of the parties to a marriage has forgone pursuing a career to support his or her spouse or may have left the workforce early to raise a family or manage the marital home.  Your Jacksonville family attorney can assist you in obtaining alimony or defending against alimony claims.

Florida Alimony

Of course, the parties to a marriage both have financial needs, both during the marriage and afterwards, should it end.  The law that governs the way marriages end recognize this fact and provide for an equitable distribution of the marital assets upon dissolution.  Additionally, Florida Courts are authorized by law to award additional financial support based on one party’s need and the other party’s ability to pay.  This type of arrangement is referred to as “alimony” by Florida law but can also be called “spousal support” or “maintenance.”  There are several types of alimony that may be awarded, including bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, permanent, durational, or lump-sum alimony.  Which kind of alimony is appropriate to request can sometimes be difficult to decide on your own.  Your Jacksonville family attorney will assist you in making that determination after examining all the facts related to your marriage.

Several Factors Considered

In determining whether or how much alimony to award, Florida courts are specifically authorized to consider the adultery and the circumstances under which it occurred.  If the court decides to award alimony to either party, it can consider all relevant factors, including the following:  1) standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage; 2) How long the marriage lasted; 3) Each party’s age and physical condition; 4) Each party’s financial resources, including the distribution of marital and non-marital assets and debts; 5) Each party’s contribution to the marriage, including caring for children, caring for the home, education, and career building of the other party; 6) The earning potential, education, job skills, and employability of both parties and the time it would take either to obtain education or training that would allow either party to obtain employment; 7) Each party’s responsibility with respect to children; 8) All sources of income available to either party; and 9) Any other factor necessary to achieve equity and justice between the parties.

As you can see, courts have significant discretion in Florida in determining whether and how much alimony to award.  As a result, it is important for anyone seeking alimony to present their case in the strongest light possible.  An attorney who understands how Florida family courts operate can help collect and present evidence on your behalf in a way that will maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable result.  In some cases, an attorney may even be able to negotiate an alimony settlement with your spouse without intervention by the court.  Anyone who is seeking to obtain or avoid an alimony payment should discuss their situation with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.  Your Jacksonville family attorney can assist you with presenting a strong case for alimony or present a strong argument in defense against alimony.

About the Author

B. Elaine Jones is a licensed Florida attorney who has been practicing family law, guardianship law and criminal law for over 25 years in Florida. Ms. Jones is an associate with the Law Office of David M. Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida.  Ms. Jones previously had a solo practitioner firm in Hillsborough County and joined Attorney Goldman’s firm in November of 2020.  You can contact Ms. Jones at the Law Office of David M. Goldman for a free initial consultation in most cases.

 

 

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