Do I qualify for alimony? There are many factors to consider when determining whether someone is entitled to alimony following their divorce. The general principle is that alimony is based on the need of one spouse, and the ability to pay by another. The Florida Statutes sets out 10 factors that help determine the amount of alimony to award. Below are a few of the more common factors that the court looks at when deciding whether to award alimony.
Length of Marriage
The length of your marriage has a huge impact on whether or not the court will award alimony. The length of the marriage will also impact what type of alimony a spouse may be awarded. Typically, permanent alimony is only awarded in long-term marriages, exceeding 17 years. However, the court may order durational or bridge the gap alimony in shorter length marriage.
Ability to be Gainfully Employed
The court will consider whether or not a spouse is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed and when deciding on awarding alimony. The Court may impute income to a spouse who is underemployed or unemployed. The imputation of income will often result in a spouse not receiving alimony or receiving a reduced amount of alimony. The Court may, however, take into consideration the necessity of a parent staying home with children when analyzing this factor.
Standard of Living in the Marriage
When deciding to award alimony, the courts look at the lifestyle that was lived during the marriage. Alimony is not meant to provide for every luxury enjoyed during the marriage. However, the courts use alimony to provide as similar of a lifestyle as financially reasonable with awarding alimony. Attorneys may even order that a ‘standard of living’ analysis be done to assist with this issue.
The Contribution to the Marriage
Courts will consider the contributions made by spouses to a marriage- monetary and non-monetary. This includes one spouse staying at home to raise children. It also includes one spouse supporting another through education or a career. The Court attempts to balance out any sacrifices made by one spouse to contribute to the success of the other.
Other Alimony Issues
Did You Waive Alimony in a Marital Agreement?
Alimony is waivable. A spouse may, during or prior to their marriage agree to not seek alimony in the event of divorce. In this situation, courts will uphold such provision, and alimony will not be awarded.
Does Gender Matter?
No, gender does not matter when it comes to awarding alimony. Alimony is solely based on the need of one party and the ability to pay by the other party.