In the Florida Statutes, there are nine essential factors to awarding alimony in Florida. These factors are lettered (a) through (j), and discuss specific legal measures in Florida law that can affect every alimony agreement. Although each factor may not be involved in every case, one or more will come into play.
Don’t stop at these nine factors. There’s more to know about Florida alimony in our other blog, What You Need To Know About Alimony in Florida!
(a) The standard of living established during the marriage
The court assesses how each spouse lived over the course of the marriage. The value of homes, cars, possessions, and other property are reviewed. Vacations and other luxuries are also taken into account. The higher the standard of living, the greater chance a spouse may have of being awarded alimony.
(b) The duration of the marriage
Longer marriages are generally understood to have more significance for each spouse, especially on shared assets and economic burdens. Longer marriages are more likely to secure alimony awards.
(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party
The age and health of each spouse, along with their general ability to support themselves, is factored into alimony awards. Poor physical or emotional health conditions may work in the favor of a spouse seeking alimony.
(d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each
The financial situation of each party is an important element in every alimony case, making this one of the most important factors to consider. Whether a spouse has the financial ability to pay alimony remains one of the most primary concerns.
(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
Spouses may not currently earn stable income, but would have the potential to upon finishing a college degree or other professional certification. In these situations, alimony may be awarded to facilitate the completion of this education and 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
When spouses give up career building opportunities to contribute to a marriage, such as raising children or helping the other spouse finish their education/employment training. These may be grounds for awarding alimony.
(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common
When children or dependents with special needs are involved in a marriage, alimony may be awarded to the spouse who cares for the child and attends to their needs.
(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
In Florida, alimony may be taxable, but it may also be nontaxable. It is commonly tax deductible to the person paying, and taxable to the person receiving. Depending on the financial condition this leaves one or both spouses in, this will factor into the court’s decision.
(i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party
When a spouse is awarded an investment account, the conditions of these sources of income may factor into any alimony awards—and could result in award reductions or additions.
(j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties
This allows courts the legal breathing room they need to form a fair and just alimony award for any and all situations, no matter how unique or complex they may be.
Wondering how these factors may affect the alimony award in your divorce case? Contact our divorce attorney in Panama City and get help finding answers.