When a marriage ends in divorce, one of the considerations for the court is whether alimony should be awarded to one party. If you’re heading towards divorce, you may want to know what to expect. While it’s impossible to predict what a judge will say, it can be helpful to have some information about alimony.
The Purpose of Alimony
The idea behind awarding alimony is to allow the spouse with a lower income to continue in a similar lifestyle for some time after the divorce. Generally, the higher wage-earner would pay alimony to the other person for a period of time, which could be temporary or permanent. Alimony can also be awarded in cases where the spouses were never married. This is called “spousal support” and is usually granted when one spouse has been financially dependent on the other during the course of the relationship. Paternity can also be affected by alimony. If a father is ordered to pay alimony, it can be reduced or eliminated if he is also ordered to pay child support.
The couple could agree to alimony terms on their own or one could give up alimony for some other property, such as the home they live in. Alimony is often a big part of the divorce settlement because it can impact both people’s lives for a long time.
Types of Alimony
According to Florida statutes, there are four kinds of alimony:
One of these may be awarded, or a combination of them. It may be made periodically or in a lump sum or even both.
Considerations in Alimony
The court will consider whether alimony will be awarded. It will begin with the determination of whether one person has a need and then if the other has the ability to pay. Other considerations as listed in the statutes include the following:
- Standard of living during the time of marriage
- Length of the marriage
- Age of both parties
- Physical and emotional health of both parties
- Financial ability of both parties
- Present and future earnings possibility, educational and vocational levels of both parties
- Contributions made to the marriage by each person
- Responsibilities to any children by each party
- Sources of income for both parties
All these factors will be considered by the judge. These are just guidelines that you can use to give you an idea of what to expect. However, each situation is unique. If you would like more information, contact an attorney who will help you be prepared and provide an estimate of how much you may be required to pay.