Alimony can be a critical part of any divorce proceeding. For many, alimony acts as their financial foundation leading into their single life. Alimony can be temporary to aid in education and employment opportunities or permanent in nature to provide you with the financial assistance that you became accustomed to during the duration of your marriage. Although extremely important to some, others choose to waive the spousal support. Before making these permanent and important decisions, discuss with your Orlando Divorce Attorney your specific situation and what relinquishing that right may mean for your case.
In Florida there are three ways in which you may waive your right to alimony. These include a prenuptial agreement, a separation agreement, and a divorce settlement agreement. It is important to note that during the pendency of the divorce proceedings a spouse may not waive temporary alimony or attorneys’ fees. Each option to waive alimony is prior to marriage, prior to divorce proceedings, and finally, the conclusion of the divorce proceedings.
If you are considering waiving alimony, it is important to note the factors and reasons for alimony awards, to understand if you would even qualify for such an award. There are a few types of alimony awards: temporary alimony, bridge the gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational, and permanent. As previously mentioned, temporary alimony is not able to be waived as it is awarded during the pendency of the proceedings. However, bridge the gap alimony is awarded in cases to assist a spouse in the transition from becoming married to single. This award lasts no longer than 2 years. Rehabilitative alimony provides financial assistance to a spouse to allow them time to reenter the workforce, receive education, and acquire skills necessary in order to become financially independent. This award comes with a rehabilitative plan that must be followed and is typically awarded in cases where the spouse worked prior to the marriage; however, due to the other spouse’s job or family dynamics, they had to place their employment on hold. This award allows them to regain the knowledge and skills to become an expert in their field once again. Durational and permanent alimony are longer in duration and require more evidence of specific needs that may not be able to be fulfilled by other alimony awards. The difference between the two is the duration, with durational alimony it may not exceed the length of the marriage, while permanent alimony is in fact permanent.
When factoring an alimony award, the court looks first to see if there is a need and a subsequent ability to pay. If so the court will then balance these factors to determine the proper type of award as well as the necessary amount.
(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.
When looking at these factors, it is clear that they are based around the marriage itself. Therefore, if you are contemplating waiving your alimony in a prenuptial agreement this may not be in your best interest. You will not be able to know if you fall into a long-term, moderate or short term marriage, if you retained your employment, had children, your earning capacity may look significantly different, or your standard of living may be much higher than initially anticipated. Waiver of alimony in a prenuptial agreement is, typically discouraged as there are many unknowns. However, still discuss these options with your Orlando Divorce Attorney as you are negotiating this agreement to determine your needs and the negotiation of certain assets in return for your waiver.
If you are contemplating a waiver of alimony in a separation agreement or marital settlement agreement, the answers to these factors will be much easier to ascertain. However, at times it may be difficult to put a number value on an alimony award as there is no clear cut formula for its calculation in amount or duration. Therefore, it is difficult at times to see the value of what you may be giving up later on. When assessing the waiver of alimony in these instances, it is important to provide an educated guess as to its value to your specific situation and use it as a negotiation tool. If your partner is willing to provide you with an important asset in an exchange of waiver of alimony, this may be in your best interest. However, it is always important to consult with an Orlando Divorce Attorney to assist you in the weighing of your options.
You need to carefully weigh your options and the ramifications of giving up your right to alimony. If you give up your right to alimony, you have not only lost the money you could have earned during the marriage, but you also give up the right to maintain the lifestyle you were afforded during the marriage itself. Contact our office to speak with an Experienced Orlando Divorce Attorney to discuss alimony and any other aspects of your divorce case.
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