When a couple first gets married, they often must learn how to join their lives together. This can mean combining finances, sharing household responsibilities, and raising children together.
If the couple ever decides to get divorced, it can be difficult to learn to live independently once again. This can be especially difficult for a stay-at-home spouse or a spouse who earned significantly less income than their partner. Without the financial support of their now-ex, they may not be able to maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to during the marriage. In such cases, Florida family law courts may choose to award them alimony on a temporary, and sometimes even permanent, basis.
What factors do courts consider when awarding alimony?
If a court decides to award alimony, the higher-earning spouse will have to pay a certain amount of money to the lesser-earning spouse every month to provide them with financial support, during the divorce process and/or once the divorce is finalized. Courts will consider various factors when making alimony determinations, including:
- Length of the marriage (short-term: less than seven years, moderate-term: 7-17 years, long-term: more than 17 years)
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Earning capacity of each spouse (e.g., current income, education, work experience, skills)
- Individual contributions to the marriage (e.g., childcare, household maintenance, support provided by one spouse to the other, who was pursuing an education)
- Child-raising responsibilities if any
- Additional sources of income for either party
In many cases, the court will award rehabilitative alimony, or alimony awarded on a temporary basis to give the lesser-earning spouse the opportunity to:
- Re-enter the work force
- Further their education
- Receive additional job training
- Find additional employment to supplement their current job
- Find new employment
Alimony can help newly single individuals find their footing after a marriage. If you are going through a divorce and think that you may be entitled to alimony, a family law attorney may be able to assist you.