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What does a judge consider when making an alimony award?

Contrary to what many paying spouses may think, alimony is not intended to penalize the paying spouse for deciding to move forward in divorcing their husband or wife. It's instead intended to help equalize the playing field between one spouse and another, especially when there's a disparity in income between the two.

When deciding how much and for long spousal support payments will be ordered to be paid, a judge will consider a variety of factors including how long the marriage has lasted, the spouses' ages and both their mental and physical health.

A judge will also want to learn more about the standard of living the couple upheld prior to splitting up as well as how much each spouse has contributed to the supporting the household bills. When it comes to stay-at-home parents who may not earn a traditional income like their spouse, the contributions they make to the home in terms of child rearing, housekeeping and education will be factored in instead.

It's also likely that a judge will ask about the work and educational experience the recipient spouse may have. This will allow him or her to gain a better understanding as to his or her job prospects.

If it's evident that the recipient spouse doesn't have the necessary experience or skills to become gainfully employed, then the judge may award alimony for a period of time necessary for the husband or wife receiving the spousal support to build a basic knowledge base.

Whether you're simply considering getting divorced or you've already committed to filing for it, a Fort Myers attorney can advise you of your prospects of receiving spousal support in your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Florida spousal support or alimony laws," accessed April 06, 2018

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