Factors Affecting Alimony in a Florida Divorce

The Florida Statutes specify ten factors that may determine whether and how much alimony is awarded in a Florida divorce. The statute specifies that this is not an exhaustive list; other factors may be considered as well. But understanding the statute will allow you to know the vast majority of what determines alimony awards in Florida. Here are the ten factors specified in Florida Statute 61.08 and an explanation of each.

(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.

How valuable are the couple’s home, vehicles, and other possessions? What type of recreation and vacations did they engage in? A higher standard of living usually means a higher award of alimony, but in short-term marriages, this may not carry much weight.

(b) The duration of the marriage.

The likelihood and amount of alimony will increase along with the duration of the marriage. Permanent alimony is most common in marriages over 17 years long.

(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.

Advanced age and poor health both increase the amount of alimony likely awarded to a party.

(d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.

Marital assets are, with some exceptions, anything acquired during the marriage, and are divided in a divorce. Nonmarital assets are those obtained before the marriage and are not divided. However, significant nonmarital assets will influence the Court’s determination of alimony.

(e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.

Each party’s capacity to earn a living is key in determining alimony. The Court may consider rehabilitative alimony in cases in which a party’s employability would benefit from a period of education or training.

(f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.

Contributions considered here would include staying home to raise children, relocating for the furtherance of the spouse’s career, and working to put a spouse through school.

(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.

The Court will carefully consider all the costs involved in raising the couple’s children.

(h) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.

Alimony is typically tax deductible for the payer and taxable for the payee. Exceptions to this will influence the Court’s alimony award.

(I) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.

If a divorce will result in one spouse owning an income-producing asset, the Court will account for that ongoing value.

(j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

This gives the Court leeway to make fair awards outside of the other factors.

These factors, and others, affect whether a Florida divorce results in alimony and the type and amount awarded. Of course, before any alimony is awarded the requesting party must establish that they have a financial need for alimony and that the other party has the ability to pay alimony. An experienced divorce attorney can help make sure any alimony awarded in your divorce is fair.

Marcie Baker is with Alston & Baker, an Affiliation of Professional Associations: The Law Office of Robert C. Alston, Esq., P.A. and The Law Office of Marcie L. Baker, Esq., P.A. To contact a Zephyrhills personal injury lawyer, Zephyrhills divorce lawyer, or Zephyrhills social security lawyer, call 1.888.500.5245 or visit http://www.alstonbakerlaw.com.