Alimony, sometimes known as spousal support, is a payment that is made by one spouse to the other spouse.  Alimony is based upon the financial “need” of the requesting spouse and the “ability to pay” of the paying spouse.  Typically, the purpose of alimony is to help correct any unbalanced economic effects caused by the divorce. For example, a stay at home parent or a previously unemployed spouse may need a source of income after a divorce. Alimony can help provide a source of income or supplement the other party’s income in order to help spouses cope with the financial change of a divorce.

In Florida, alimony is determined after the court has had the opportunity to distribute the parties’ assets and liabilities.  Once equitable distribution has occurred, the court can then examine the details of the case to determine whether or not alimony needs to be paid.  Based upon the factors set forth in Florida Statutes 61.08, the court will determine which spouse will pay alimony, the type of alimony to be paid, and the amount that needs to be paid. Alimony can be granted to either the husband or the wife.

What's the difference between alimony and spousal support agreements?

While they're often lumped into the same category, spousal support agreements are essentially alimony terms that have been agreed upon by both spouses. The terms of this agreement can be laid out at any time, but are typically made during the divorce proceedings. The alimony amount must be agreed upon by both parties, and it is important that, even if both parties agree on the alimony details, an agreement is presented to the court and made official as part of the court's order. This will help ensure that all details of the agreement are upheld going forward.

How will the court determine the type and amount of alimony?

The court will consider a variety of factors when determining the details of an alimony award.  While Florida is a no-fault divorce state when it comes to the grounds for a divorce, the court may consider fault, or lack thereof, in making an alimony award.  The factors for the court to consider in awarding alimony include the following statutory factors:

  • The parties' prior standard of living
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age of both spouses
  • The time necessary to acquire education or training for employment
  • Services rendered by homemaking, child rearing, and education and career building of the other spouse
  • The physical and emotional condition of both spouses
  • The financial resources of each spouse
  • The income-earning capacity of the assets each spouse receives
  • The income-producing capacity of the assets each spouse receives

Fort Myers alimony & spousal support attorney

If you’re trying to negotiate alimony or a spousal support agreement, you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Leah Meshelle Snyder, P.A. has been helping residents in the Fort Myers area for over 20 years to ensure their needs are taken care of. If you’re in need of an experienced alimony attorney, Contact Leah Meshelle Snyder, P.A. today.

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