Alimony is the term used to refer to support payments made by one spouse to the other. The recipient spouse’s need and the paying spouse’s ability to pay are two primary considerations when awarding alimony. A spouses’ need is generally determined by reviewing the expenses of the parties during the relevant time period, while a spouse’s ability to pay is generally determined by consideration not only of the payer spouse’s income but those financial obligations already in place. Income determinations can be complex, especially if there are elements such as:
- Gift Income
- Discretionary or performance bonuses
- Equity compensation
- Deferred compensation
- Complex tax considerations, including foreign taxes
- Trust income
- Nonrecurring income
- In-kind contributions that reduce living expenses
- Self-employment income
- Undeclared income
Currently, Florida law provides for several types of alimony and there are a number of factors that a court considers when determining whether and how much alimony to award a spouse. For example, the Court may award temporary alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony, or permanent alimony. Alimony may be made in periodic payments or ordered as a lump sum amount, depending on the circumstances.
Statutory factors the Court must consider—but is not limited to—in awarding alimony:
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The duration of marriage
- Ages of the parties
- Physical and emotional condition of the parties
- The financial resources of each party
- Earning capacities, etc., of the parties
- Contributions to the marriage
- Responsibilities that each will have with their minor children
- Sources of income available to each party
- Other factors to do equity and justice between the parties.
Florida statutes define the types of alimony and what constitutes a short-term, moderate-term or long-term marriage. The length of the marriage is a factor for the court to consider in making an alimony award.
Florida law provides for several types of alimony:
Temporary alimony to assist a spouse by providing support during the pendency of the proceedings.
Bridge-the-gap alimony to assist a spouse by providing support throughout the transition from being married to being single, not to exceed 2 years.
Rehabilitative alimony to assist a receiving spouse in establishing the capacity for self-support.
Durational alimony as an alternative to permanent, periodic alimony; provides economic assistance to a spouse for a set amount of time, not to exceed the length of the marriage.
Permanent alimony or financial support intended to provide for the needs and necessities of life for a spouse who lacks the financial ability to meet those needs following the divorce.
Whether you believe you should be entitled to receive alimony, or your spouse is seeking for you to pay alimony, the attorneys at Nicole L. Goetz, P.L. have the experience and skills to represent your interests. For more information and to receive a confidential consultation, please contact our office in Naples, Florida.