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Alimony

Alimony—how much am I going to get? How much am I going to pay?

Unlike child support, in Florida, there is no statutory formula or guideline to determine how much alimony a party should receive or how much a party should pay. Courts look to Florida Statutes Section 61.14 to determine alimony, based on one party’s “need” and the other party’s “ability to pay”.

Florida  Statutes Section 61.08 also provides the following for the Court to consider:

“(2) In determining whether to award alimony or maintenance, the court shall first make a specific factual determination as to whether either party has an actual need for alimony or maintenance and whether either party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance. If the court finds that a party has a need for alimony or maintenance and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance, then in determining the proper type and amount of alimony or maintenance under subsections (5)-(8), the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:

(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.

(b) The duration of the marriage.

(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.

(d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.

(e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.

(f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.

(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.

(h) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.

(i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.

(j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.”

Noteworthy is that there is no savings component for alimony (i.e. a party is not required to pay alimony to another party in any amount above their “need” so that the receiving party has additional funds to put away for savings, even if the parties historically were able to put away money for savings.  It is not the obligation of the payor spouse to provide the payee spouse with Alimonymore support than is necessary to meet the payee spouse’s need.

The Florida Supreme Court has determined that “[i]n awarding alimony, the court may *610 not factor in speculative post-dissolution savings based upon a marital history of frugality.” Mallard v. Mallard, 771 So.2d 1138, 1140 (Fla.2000). Put another way, “alimony may not include a savings component.” Id. at 1141. In Donoff v. Donoff, 940 So.2d 1221, 1224 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006), this court cited Mallard and stated that trial courts may not “increase the amount of alimony by adding an investment (i.e., growth) allowance….”  Rosecan v. Springer, 985 So.2d 607 (Fla. 4th DCa 2008).

There are also several forms of alimony that may be available to a party, depending on the length of the marriage of the parties, as well as other factors. Those forms of alimony are durational, permanent periodic, lump sum, bridge-the-gap, and rehabilitative. Alimony can also be ordered on a temporary basis.

Finally, for purposes of calculating child support, a party’s gross income is reduced for any payment of alimony, thereby possibly reducing the amount of child support.  If an alimony obligation ends before the minor children obtain the age of majority, child support should be recalculated to take into account this change.

If you are unsure of the amount of alimony you may be entitled to receive or the amount of alimony you may be required to pay, set up a consultation with McNeal Legal to discuss possible outcomes of your case.

Photos in this blog are courtesy of: flickr.com and wikimedia.org