Alimony – How to qualify and what to expect:
Alimony is the payment of support from one marital partner to the other after the relationship has ended.
Because there is a stigma attached to the word alimony, it is also known as “spousal support'” and “maintenance.”
Not too many years ago, alimony or lifetime financial support was an almost automatic result of divorce, and the wife was inevitably the partner who received it. Nowadays, however, since it is no longer assumed that the husband is the sole breadwinner and supporter of the family, only about one in six divorces include ongoing monthly payments and almost 4% of the recipients are men. Assuming there is no prenuptial agreement in place, how much spousal support you receive is dependent on many complicated factors, primarily the divorce laws in your state. The current Florida Law on Alimony can be found here.
For the most part, spousal support is based on the current and probable future income of both husband and wife. If there is a great disparity between the earning capacities of the two, the spouse who earns the larger sum will be required to supplement the other to the extent that it does not diminish their accustomed standard of living. The length of the marriage is also often taken into account, as are the ability and capability of the partners to support themselves. Additionally, the age, health and parental responsibilities of the recipient are part of the equation, and although child support is a separate matter, the financial consequence of caring for children during the marriage is usually considered in determining the amount of alimony awarded.
Lifelong alimony has largely become a thing of the past. Of course, there are always exceptions to every generality, and Florida is one exception as lifelong alimony still exists. In other states, an individual who has never worked, or who is disabled or otherwise incapacitated might be awarded lifetime financial support. However, most spousal support today is limited by the length of the marriage. Many states allocate it for half the number of years a couple has been together. In other words, if you have been married for ten years, you’ll most likely receive monthly support checks for about five years, unless you remarry within that time frame.
It is important to remember that alimony payments are counted as taxable income for the recipient and as a deduction for the paying spouse, financial facts that your lawyers should weigh when finalizing arrangements.
There are states where alimony might be rewarded to one or the other partner of a co-habitation agreement, even if the couple was never legally married. And, of course, same sex marriages and living arrangements have been in the news a lot in recent years. State laws will dictate whether or not spousal support is called for under these circumstances.
Although it is possible to negotiate a no-fault divorce and subsequent support payments without legal help, the process is littered with legal hurdles. It is advised that if one partner hires a divorce lawyer, the other one should as well. The same holds true if one spouse is an attorney.
The attorneys at Fernandez Law Group always represent the best interests of our clients and if you have any questions and need an alimony or divorce attorney in Tampa, we suggest you call us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation.
Content authored by Frank Fernandez
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