Divorce is already an arduous process for the litigants, but what can make it even more challenging is the issue of alimony, a common cause of strife in divorce proceedings. The purpose of alimony is to prevent one spouse from suffering a significant economical disadvantage as a result of the dissolution of a marriage.
Disputes tend to arise when the paying spouse complains of the determined alimony payment being too high. Because Florida does not provide a formula to calculate the amount of alimony that one former spouse must pay to the other, judges must take certain standard factors into account in their alimony determination, including
- Length of the marriage – the longer the marriage, the higher the likelihood of a spouse receiving alimony
- Income and assets of each spouse – earnings from jobs, assets, investments
- Future earning potential of each spouse – how much work experience or education does each spouse have, and what kinds of work/earning opportunities do they give each spouse?
- Life contributions made by each spouse during the marriage – e.g., did the couple relocate to another state for one spouse’s job; one spouse gives up pursuit of a college degree to be primary caretaker of children
- Age and physical condition of each spouse – is either spouse in good enough health to make a living post-marriage?
- Lifestyle standard during the marriage – e.g., ownership of properties, amount of money spent on necessities such as automobiles and clothing
Different types of spousal support can be awarded by judges in the state of Florida:
- Bridge the gap – paid for 2 years maximum to help the recipient spouse transition into a single-income lifestyle
- Durational – paid only for a certain amount of time, not for longer than the length of the marriage
- Lump sum – a set payment calculated to do equity between the parties that can be in the form of money or property; usually ordered to be paid either on a one-time basis or over a set period of time.
- Permanent – typically awarded in long-term marriages (by definition, exceeding 17 years) and paid until the recipient spouse either remarries or dies
- Rehabilitative – paid until the recipient spouse is able to financially support themselves
- Temporary – paid to enable the recipient spouse to cover expenses until divorce finalization