Very few decisions in life have permanent consequences. Alimony can be one of them. Regardless of whether you are the spouse who is going to be paying alimony, or are the spouse who will be receiving it, the decisions made in family court impact you for many years to come. The battle over alimony requires that your lawyer have a unique combination of skills: litigation readiness; procedural know-how; financial sophistication; tax code savvy; and a down-and-dirty understanding of how people structure their affairs to maximize their claim or minimize their potential liability.
This may be a fight you want to avoid.
Florida Family Law Mediator
Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator, Richard J. Mockler, can help parties work through a complex alimony case. After graduating law school with honors, he trained as a business litigator at two of the most prestigious commercial law firms in the United States handling complex corporate and financial litigation for Fortune 500 companies. Richard also studied Finance, holds a Masters of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.), and knows his way around financial statements. After years of successfully trying high-stakes family law cases, he also understands how an alimony battle can play out in the courtroom.
Florida Alimony Factors
Under Florida law, a court may award alimony to either spouse. An alimony award may fall into one or more categories, including transitional, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent alimony. A court's decision whether to award alimony is based primarily on one spouse's need for alimony and the other spouse's ability to pay alimony. When when fashioning an award of alimony, courts may take into limited account whether one spouse engaged in adultery. The following factors guide a Court’s alimony decision:
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The length of the marriage.
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of each spouse.
- The financial resources of each spouse.
- The earning capacities, levels of educational, and employability of each spouse and, when applicable, the time necessary to acquire appropriate vocational skills.
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including child care, home making, education, and career building.
- The responsibilities each spouse will to their minor children.
- The tax treatment and consequences of any alimony award.
- All sources of income available to either spouse, including income available through investments.
- Any other factor necessary to do justice.
Types of Alimony
Transitional or “Bridge the Gap” Alimony may be awarded to assist a spouse in transitioning from being married to being single. It is designed to assist with identifiable short-term needs not to exceed two years.
Rehabilitative Alimony may be awarded to assist a spouse in becoming financially self-supporting by re-developing previous skills or acquiring new employment skills. The spouse requesting rehabilitative alimony most present a specific and definable rehabilitative plan. This type of alimony may be modified based upon a substantial change in circumstances or non-compliance with the rehabilitative plan.
Durational Alimony: The purpose of durational alimony is to provide economic assistance for a fixed period of time following a marriage of short (1 to 7 years) or moderate 8 to 17 years) duration. Its term may not exceed the length of the marriage and it terminates upon the death of either spouse or upon re-marriage of the person receiving it. The amount of the award may be modified based upon a substantial change in circumstances; however, the length of the award may only be modified under exceptional circumstances.
Permanent Alimony provides for a spouse’s financial needs as they were established during the marriage for a spouse who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs. Permanent alimony is usually awarded following a marriage of long duration (over 17 years), but may be awarded after a marriage of moderate duration if appropriate or following a marriage of short duration under exceptional circumstances. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the re-marriage of the spouse receiving it and may be modified upon a substantial change in circumstances.
Lump Sum Alimony is a one-time payment of a fixed sum of money.
We work closely with our clients to understand their financial needs and analyze the types and amounts of alimony that they may be required to pay or entitled to receive.