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Determining Type & Amount of Alimony

If the parties in a Florida divorce cannot agree on whether alimony should be paid and/or the appropriate amount, type, and duration of alimony, then the court will determine alimony. Before determining what type or amount of alimony is appropriate, the court must find that a party has a need for alimony and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony. 

Need vs. Ability to Pay

An award of alimony may be appropriate where the court finds that the requesting spouse has a need for alimony and the paying spouse has the ability to pay alimony. The requesting spouse’s need for alimony may be shown by presenting evidence of that spouse’s income or ability to earn income and comparing that to evidence regarding the requesting spouse’s reasonable expenses and their ability to cover said expenses. 

Ability to pay may be shown in a similar manner. Presenting evidence of the paying spouse’s income and earning ability and comparing that to evidence of the paying spouse’s reasonable expenses often shows whether or not the paying spouse has the ability to pay alimony.

An award of alimony may be appropriate where the court finds that the requesting spouse has a need for alimony and the paying spouse has the ability to pay alimony.

The Alimony Factors

If the court finds that a party has a need for alimony and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony, then in determining the proper type and amount of alimony 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.

Fla. Stat. § 61.08(2). Essentially, the court will weight out these factors with the unique facts of each individual case to determine what type of alimony and how much should be paid. It is important to note that the court will only go through the above analysis when the parties cannot agree as to alimony. The parties always have the ability to agree to whether alimony should be paid, the type and the duration. With so many options available regarding alimony, it is important to speak with an experienced Tampa or Orlando divorce lawyer about alimony. 

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