If My Spouse Has a Large Income, Does That Guarantee My Support Award Will Be Sizeable?


When going through a divorce, a common fear is the financial instability it may cause you and your family. However, alimony and child support awards are common in many Florida divorces. Your Orlando Divorce Attorney can help to guide you through the strategies used to create support awards, even when one partner has a much larger income base.

In the state of Florida, there are two types of financial support awards that the court may order; child support and alimony. In regards to child support, Florida requires both parents be legally and financially responsible for their child and the burden be equally distributed between the parties. The amount and length of child support is strictly regulated by Florida statute 61.30. The guidelines provide a direct correlation between a parent’s income and parenting plan to determine the amount of child support due. However, statute does allow for a judge to deviate from these guidelines. “The trier of fact may order payment of child support which varies, plus or minus 5 percent, from the guideline amount, after considering all relevant factors, including the needs of the child or children, age, station in life, standard of living, and the financial status and ability of each parent. The trier of fact may order payment of child support in an amount which varies more than 5 percent from such guideline amount only upon a written finding explaining why ordering payment of such guideline amount would be unjust or inappropriate.” This can be seen in the specific case, of Finley v. Scott. The father had an annual income of 3 million dollars, while the mother was primary custodian with a significantly lower income. The guidelines prescribed a monthly child support award of $10,000. However, the court deviated from this calculation and awarded the mother $5,000 in monthly support based upon the findings of the actual needs of the child. Therefore, it is important to discuss with your Orlando Child Custody Attorney your specific case and allow them to formulate a plan involving these preset guidelines.

Alimony may also be awarded by the court to a lower earning spouse under certain circumstances. Alimony is awarded based upon a spouses’ need in relation to the other spouse’s ability to pay. (61.08) If the court determines there is a need and an ability to pay the court must then consider all relevant factors including:

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

(b) The duration of the marriage.

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

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

(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.

(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.

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

(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.

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

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

Although, a spouse’s income is a clear factor in an alimony determination, it is not the only one. Therefore, it is critical to discuss with your Orlando Divorce Attorney your specific circumstances and determine if you may be able to qualify for an alimony award.

When partners are divorcing and this type of financial inconsistency exists, there are specific considerations that will be taken into account. These should be discussed with your Orlando Divorce Attorney prior to entering into negotiations. Whether facing divorce, child custody, or a child support order for a child in your custody, doing so with a partner who has a sizeable income can be daunting to say the least. Let our Orlando Child Custody Attorney work with you to ensure that your divorce orders reflect the needs of your children and your family in general.

Speaking to an attorney at our office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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