Top Seven Alimony Factors in Florida
In some states, alimony determinations are usually like child support determinations. Financial guidelines usually dictate the amount and duration of payments. But the law in the Sunshine State are different. They are quite subjective, as outlined below. As a result, an effective Port St. Lucie divorce attorney is vital, whether you are an obligor (person paying alimony) or an obligee (person receiving alimony). Otherwise, there is no one to stand up for your legal and financial rights in these situations.
Standard of Living During the Marriage
Short-term alimony is designed to help obligees become financially self-sufficient. But long-term alimony is designed to equalize the standard of living between the former spouses. So, this factor is usually more significant in long-term alimony cases. There might be another dynamic as well. Statistically, divorced women do not rebuild wealth as quickly as divorced men.
Length of the Marriage
The duration of the marriage is usually relevant to the duration of alimony payments. As mentioned, judges have a great deal of flexibility in this area. Generally, if the marriage lasted less than seven years, only temporary alimony is available. Marriages between seven and seventeen years might qualify for durational support or another kind of longer-term alimony. Permanent alimony is usually only available if the marriage lasted more than seventeen years, and it is not available in all these cases.
Relative Age and Physical Health of Each Spouse
Typically, young and healthy people have greater future earning capacity than older or sickly people. And, the capability of economic self-sufficiency is one of the key overall factors in alimony determinations. This factor sometimes overlaps with others, including the next one on this list.
Relative Educational and Employment Background of Each Spouse
This factor is related to the one above. Poorly educated people with limited employment backgrounds often have limited economic opportunities. The difference is that alimony can address economic inequality. Obligees can go back to school or accept low paying jobs and work up the ladder.
Overall Property Division
Marital property is not the only factor in alimony determinations. Many people have significant nonmarital estates. That’s especially true if they have been married before. The judge may consider such property in these situations.
Noneconomic Contributions to the Marriage
Frequently, this factor is either the most important or least important one on this list. If a spouse gave up career advancement to become a caregiver, the judge carefully weighs those efforts in this equation. However, in most other cases, the “homemaker” factor is often negligible. Most spouses divide caregiver and breadwinner responsibilities, at least to some extent.
Custody of Minor Children
Normally, it’s in the best interests of the children for them to remain in the family home. Many obligees need financial assistance making mortgage payments and meeting other obligations.
Agreements Between the Parties
This last bullet might be the most important one. The agreement could be based on a premarital agreement or a divorce property settlement. Premarital agreements are usually enforceable unless one side did not have a lawyer or the terms are blatantly one-sided. Moreover, judges almost always approve out-of-court settlements, provided they do not deviate too far from the aforementioned factors.
Contact a Dedicated Lawyer
Alimony determinations in Florida usually rest on a number of factors. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle matters throughout the Treasure Coast area.