When it comes to a divorce, the first thing that frightens most people is the term alimony. To some individuals, it means paying large sums of money to the other partner for the rest of their life and to others it means losing everything they have ever owned. To get the facts right, alimony is a financial award given to the ex-spouse, only until he or she is able to support him or herself.
Common Alimony Questions
Some of the common questions that many people frequently ask about alimony include the following:
– How long do I pay the ex-spouse?
– How much do I have to pay?
– Are these payments set in stone or can they be changed in future?
– What happens if I do not pay alimony?
– What does the ex-spouse do with the money?
– What if I lose my job and can’t pay alimony?
– Do I need the services of a lawyer to help me with the alimony?
To get answers to the above questions, read our guide below:
Do I Have To Pay Alimony?
When the court has stated that you have to pay alimony, this is legally binding. Alimony award is granted to the ex-spouse for financial support after a legal separation or divorce. The alimony award will compensate for any unexpected financial consequence to one spouse following a divorce. For example, if you are a doctor and your wife has always been at home raising the children, then after a divorce, there is little expectation that she will quickly get a job because she was a stay at home mother and wife, so she will need financial support until she is able to get back on her feet.
What Factors Determine Alimony?
When two partners are in the process of divorcing or have divorced, the alimony award is usually made by a family law judge. In the majority of alimony awards, the judge will look at many factors to determine the financial payments. The most common things used to calculate alimony include the following:
– The standard of living during the marriage
– Daily, weekly or monthly expenses
– Need for transportation, food or clothes
– Need to rent a place
– The general health of both spouses
– Age of the ex-spouse. In general, alimony awards are higher for older ex-spouses than younger ex-spouses.
– Occupation of the spouses
– How long was the marriage or partnership? The longer the marriage the great the award
– What were the assets during the marriage
– What role did each partner play in the marriage
– What did the partners earn during the marriage
– Are there any children and how old?
– What is the education of the spouses?
– What is the work potential of the spouses? Alimony generally goes to the ex-spouse with the weaker earning potential or one who is unemployed. At the same time, the court will also ask that the receiving spouse also start to look for a job. In the future, the spouse may be required to produce where he or she has applied for a job and the outcome.
– Did both spouses work? What sort of work?
– Is there is any evidence of domestic violence? The courts usually award temporary alimony to the victimized/abused spouse so that he or she can look for a safer place to say.
Future inheritance cannot be awarded in an alimony. While alimony is separate from child support, both spouses are obligated to ensure that the children are well looked after. When the child support is high, this will usually lead to a decrease in alimony payments.
How Much Alimony Is Appropriate?
Before the judge makes the final decision on the alimony award, both parties have a say to determine what is appropriate. The lawyers for both parties will negotiate to get the best terms for their clients. In the past, alimony awards in most cases were made to the women. However, today this is no longer the case. Today, many women work and not only have top positions in various professions but also have the same earning power as men. So in cases where the male partner has a low income or has been at home looking after the children, he will be awarded the alimony payments. However, it is important to understand that an alimony award is not the same as child support. The alimony support is primarily an award to support the ex-spouse.
What Types Of Alimony Awards Occur In Florida?
Temporary Alimony is when the judge awards alimony when one or both spouses decide to divorce in court, but the separation process has not yet been finalized. This temporary alimony permits one spouse to adapt to a new way of life after the separation while the divorce proceedings are taking place. As soon as the divorce is finalized, the temporary alimony ceases. If the spouse who is directed to pay the temporary alimony fails to do, then the divorce court judge will legally order the spouse to pay up. Or in some cases, the judge may even waive the temporary alimony depending on the financial status of the ex-spouse who was receiving the money.
The temporary alimony payments will generally include the rent, food, clothing, transport, and furniture, enough so that the ex-spouse can at least have a reasonably similar lifestyle to what he or she was used to during the marriage.
Rehabilitative Alimony is awarded to the unemployed spouse so that he or she can develop a constructive plan for future support. For example, if one spouse has been a housewife and has no other skills than the judge will award rehabilitative alimony that will also include money for education, skills training, and living expenses. If the education or skills course takes longer than anticipated, the judge may extend the time for alimony awards. However, if the spouse receiving the alimony does not make any commitment to improving his or her lifestyle by obtaining a job/education, then the judge may permit the other spouse to cease paying alimony.
Durational Alimony is a new law created to award alimony to one ex-partner when the details of the final alimony have not yet been worked out. This type of alimony offers financial assistance only for a specified time following a divorce.
Permanent Alimony is awarded to assist the ex-spouse with the necessities of life to which he or she was used to during marriage for an indefinite period of time. This type of alimony will usually last until the one of the spouses dies or the benefiting spouse gets married again.
Can The Alimony Be Changed Or Discontinued?
Alimony payments may be finite or may go on for an indefinite period of time. However, they can be discontinued if:
– The ex-spouse gets married
– When the child is grown up and no longer needs a parent at home
– The judge determines that the ex-spouse is not making any effort to become self-supporting
– When one of the spouses expires
Get Help From An Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are getting a divorce and are either going to be a recipient or paying an alimony, it is important to seek the assistance of an Orlando divorce lawyer. There are many nuances in the law which are complex and can be hard to navigate. Having an experienced family law attorney on your case can help you decrease your alimony payments or ensure that you get the maximum share of the marriage assets.