If you are getting divorced or considering filing for divorce, you likely have some pretty firm assumptions or goals in terms of how you think the process will go. You may think to yourself, "I'll get custody of the kids, demand child support, walk away with half of our marital estate and be able to survive off spousal support payments."
However, in Florida, these issues are quite complicated and it can be very difficult to walk away from a divorce with everything you expect. For example, when it comes to spousal support or alimony, there is no guarantee that it will be ordered in your case.
According to the alimony laws in Florida, the decision of whether to grant it or not will typically be left in the hands of the court, unless spouses can come to an agreement on their own. Alimony will not be awarded simply because someone requested it or feels that they deserve it. In reality, the courts will award spousal support only after considering several factors and asking questions like:
- Is spousal support necessary?
- Can the appropriate party afford to pay alimony?
- How long were you married?
- What financial resources do you and your spouse have individually?
- What contributions did you each make to the marriage?
- What type of alimony may be appropriate?
- How do your earning capacities match up?
Based on these and several other questions, the courts will make a determination as to whether to award spousal support, how much the payments will be and how long they will last.
Whether you are trying to avoid paying alimony or want to collect it, it can be crucial to have the help of an attorney by your side. In some cases, you can work this issue out on your own without going to court; in other cases, you will need to prepare your case and present it to a judge. In either case, legal representation and guidance can help you avoid costly mistakes and pursue a satisfactory outcome.