When it comes to the 2016 legislative session, political experts are already predicting that one of the hot-button issues that state lawmakers will more than likely be debating in Tallahassee over the coming months is alimony reform.
While there is a very good chance that this will turn out to be true and that we'll perhaps see some major changes in the way spousal support is awarded in the Sunshine State, it's nevertheless vitally important for those contemplating divorce to understand what the law says here and now.
In today's post, the first in a series, we'll begin examining how alimony is awarded in Florida.
In general, state law dictates that a spouse seeking to secure alimony must be able to demonstrate that 1) they are in actual need of such financial assistance and 2) their former spouse has the ability to provide this financial assistance.
Regarding this latter point, the court would typically decline to award alimony if the spouse ordered to make alimony payments would be left with substantially less income than the spouse receiving the payments.
Once this threshold determination is made, the court will next consider a multitude of factors to help determine what type of alimony is appropriate, as well as its amount and duration.
Some of these factors include the following:
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The age, physical condition and emotional state of the spouses
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage
- The education, training, job skills and ability of each spouse to find employment
We'll continue examining this topic in future posts, including the existence of a rebuttable presumption as it relates to the determining the length of a marriage and, by extension, eligibility for certain types of alimony.
Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you would like to learn more about determining alimony or have questions about the divorce process.