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Factors Florida courts consider in alimony decisions

When divorcing couples in Florida are unable to reach an agreement by themselves regarding pivotal matters such as alimony, the Circuit Court may intervene. Judges may determine the specifics of an order for spousal support on a case-by-case basis and typically do so after taking several factors into consideration.

For instance, the court may take into account the standard of living established during the couple's marriage. This is important insofar as the court may seek an outcome in which both parties' incomes are sufficient to meet and maintain the standard of living that had been established during the marriage. Toward this end, the court may review the totality of income sources available to each party.

In addition, courts may factor in contributions each spouse made to the marriage, not excluding homemaking and child care. Furthermore, the length of time it may take either spouse to gain enough training and education to procure employment may prove to be an important factor.

In order to create an equitable and just support order, the court might consider the length of the marriage as well as the age and health of both spouses at the time of the divorce. Additionally, judges may take into account any marital fault, especially instances of adultery.

After thorough consideration of factors like these, the court may order permanent or rehabilitative alimony to either party. This alimony might be ordered as periodic payments, a lump sum or a combination of both, and the court may additionally order the spouse who is paying the alimony to procure a life insurance policy. This is meant to ensure that alimony is paid in the event of the supporting ex-spouse's death. Like all big issues pertaining to the dissolution of a marriage, alimony orders can be complex and contentious. For this reason, retaining the counsel and representation of a family law attorney is essential.

Source: Divorce Support, "Florida Spousal Support/Maintenance/Alimony Factors", September 15, 2014

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Thompson Family Law, P.A.
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