Alimony may be awarded to one spouse when getting divorced. In Florida, there is no set formula for how alimony should be determined, which allows judges wide discretion in determining how much and for how long alimony should be paid. Florida Statute 61.08 lists the following factors that a judge considers when establishing alimony:
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
- The financial resources of each party, including the non-marital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
- 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.
- 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.
- The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
- 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.
- All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
As you can see from the last factor, the judge can essentially look at anything they deem necessary to reach a fair and equitable alimony determination.
So, how is alimony calculated in Florida? One rule of thumb proposed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is:
"The amount is [to] be calculated by taking 30 percent of the payor’s gross income minus 20 percent of the payee’s gross income. The additional limitation is that the alimony amount, so calculated, when added to the gross income of the payee, shall not result in the recipient receiving in excess of 40 percent of the combined gross income of the parties."
While this is a helpful guideline for calculating alimony, it is not rigidly followed by judges and may be deviated from depending on each individuals situation. Additionally, whether alimony will be awarded at all is largely dependent on the length of the marriage in Florida. Florida differentiates between a short-term marriage (less than 7 years), a moderate-term marriage (more than 7, but less than 17 years), and long-term marriage (longer than 17 years) with the length of the marriage being measured from the the date of marriage until the date of filing for divorce. Alimony is not typically awarded in short-term marriages unless there are extraordinary circumstances. Alimony may be awarded in moderate-term marriages, but is the easiest to establish in a long-term marriage.
If you are considering filing for divorce, call Pinellas Family Lawyer at 727-538-7741 to discuss your personal situation to best understand your rights regarding alimony and division of assets.
Pinellas Family Lawyer, PLLC, handling divorce and child custody lawsuits in Oldsmar, FL, Palm Harbor, FL, Tarpon Spring, FL, Tampa, FL, Westchase, FL, New Port Richey, FL, St. Pete, FL, Pinellas Park, FL, Dunedin, FL, Safety Harbor, FL, Clearwater, FL, Clearwater Beach, FL, Largo, FL, Belleair, FL, Madeira Beach, FL, and throughout Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, and Pasco County.