Divorce may leave spouses with financial obligations and few means to meet them. When a marriage is dissolved, there are living expenses that you once shared with a spouse. Your ex-spouse may have served as the main breadwinner, so if you are able, you will need to enter the labor market.
Alimony is intended to cushion the otherwise harsh financial consequences of a divorce. Florida law provides for different types of alimony to accommodate the needs of a dependent spouse and the ability of the supporting spouse to pay. Alimony claims are very factual and involve examining various financial records and information about the spouses. Family law attorneys guide spouses through the factual and legal issues of alimony.
types of alimony
Permanent alimony generally lasts until the death of a spouse or until the recipient remarries. The length of the marriage determines what and how the court considers permanent alimony.
In long-term marriages, when deciding alimony, the judge must show that he considered factors such as income, education, ability of the supporting spouse, and expenses. Florida law treats a marriage longer than 17 years as long-term.
The medium-duration marriage category includes those with a marriage of at least seven and no more than 17 years. A spouse in a medium-duration marriage must demonstrate one of the factors by clear and persuasive evidence. This standard requires the judge to have a firm belief in the alimony grounds. If you have been married for less than seven years and wish to have alimony, you must prove “extraordinary circumstances”.
If a court decides that maintenance is not appropriate by law or under the circumstances, it may award maintenance. First and foremost, spouses in short- or medium-term marriages can receive assistance for the time needed to provide economic assistance.
Rehabilitation Alimony focuses on putting you in a position of ultimate self-sufficiency. Florida law provides this assistance to help you pay for education and training expenses to develop or improve your employable skills. You need to make a specific plan, e.g. B. Identifying the skills and education or training program for which you may enroll.
You could support your claim for rehabilitation support with evidence that you quit your job or otherwise did not work because your spouse took on the role of breadwinner. This can be especially important if your spouse had a well-paying job or you stayed at home to raise the children or do housework.
“Bridging the Gap”
Some form of short-term maintenance can help you make the financial transition from marriage to single living. The Bridge the Gap Alimony Allowance can help you with expenses such as finding a job, paying rent and utilities, or arranging transportation, especially if your spouse keeps the only vehicle.
This support lasts only two years. Unlike permanent, permanent, and rehabilitating alimony, spouses cannot request an increase or decrease in the amount or duration of alimony to bridge the gap.
Factors in an Alimony Award
Florida Statutes Section 61.08 lists the types of alimony and the factors the court will consider in awarding alimony. As a rule, the dependency of the seeking spouse and the solvency of the dependent spouse prevail. The judge may consider whether either spouse committed adultery, but otherwise fault does not play a role in awarding alimony.
Factors provided for by the Child Support Act include:
* The length of the marriage
* The standard of living during marriage
* The respective ages of the spouses
* The physical and mental health of the spouses
* Level of education
* Professional Skills
* Work experience
* The time and expense required to develop employable skills or training
* What each party contributed to the marriage, such as: E.g. raising children, housework, education, furthering the other spouse’s career
* Amount of income and sources of income, such as B. Work, investments, disability and business ventures
* Assets and liabilities of each spouse
* Responsibility of each parent for the children born of the marriage
Building evidence of alimony payments
Contested divorces, such as those involving alimony, can be time-consuming and extensively documented. In such a procedure, the spouses must provide “mandatory information” about the financial circumstances and information. You and your spouse must complete a financial affidavit and provide documents such as:
* Income tax and gift tax returns for the last three years
* Forms such as W-2s, 1099s and K-1 (partnerships) for each of the last three years in which no declaration was filed
* Payslips and other proof of income for the three months prior to delivery of the affidavit
* Income documents from any source for the three months prior to delivery of the affidavit
* Actions within the last three years
* Promissory notes in the last 12 months
* Current leases
* Check bank statements for the last three months
* Bank statements for the last 12 months for savings deposits, certificates of deposit and other accounts
* Latest bank statement for 401(k), retirement, retirement, profit-sharing, and other similar accounts
* Page Life Insurance Statements
* Health and dental insurance cards for spouses or children
The consequences of failure to disclose financial information in a timely, accurate or appropriate manner could include the exclusion of evidence and possibly even the dismissal of the claim or the award of maintenance if the supporting party breaches the Rules. Your lawyer can ensure that you provide the required information and that the other party does the same.
Using the information obtained from disclosures, attorneys help clients prepare for alimony hearings and court proceedings. The parties may also use the financial and other circumstances disclosed in the discovery to seek settlement of alimony claims. Your solicitor can negotiate certain terms about the amount or duration of the alimony, and whether either party will receive alimony at all.
The alimony arrangement can even be made through a marriage contract. Such a contract precedes the marriage and may provide that you waive your right to maintenance in the event of a divorce or determine the duration and amount of maintenance. Florida law requires that the agreement be in writing and signed by both prospective spouses and that each disclose full ownership and finances to the other.
Your spouse could invoke the marriage contract to defend your maintenance claim. If so, your attorney can review the agreement and determine if you can void it because your spouse did not truthfully disclose property and income before you signed.