When a couple faces divorce, the lower-earning spouse can often receive spousal support to establish and maintain an independent household. The spouses can agree on a fair support amount or ask the judge to make a determination.
Explore the factors that influence spousal support calculations in Florida:
Types of Florida alimony
State law establishes several different alimony arrangements as follows:
- Lump-sum alimony, which constitutes a one-time transfer of property or cash
- Durational alimony, which one spouse receives once or twice a month for a limited time
- Permanent alimony, which persists until the receiving spouse marries someone else or dies
- Bridge-the-gap alimony, typically a lump sum or a two-year maximum regular payment for a specific purpose such as a home down payment to support an independent household
- Rehabilitative alimony, which helps the lower-earning spouse develop the job skills and education to become financially independent
Factors in determining spousal support
When you and your spouse come to an agreement on alimony independently or with the help of your attorneys, you should document this arrangement in your divorce paperwork. When you cannot agree, either spouse can ask the judge for spousal support. Florida courts will consider:
- The division of marital property
- The financial or nonmonetary contributions (e.g., housekeeping, child care) of each spouse
- The ability of the lower-earning spouse to attain financial independence with additional education or training
- The current and future projected income of each spouse
- The physical and mental health of each spouse
- The age of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage
While Florida does not consider fault when determining asset division, actions such as infidelity may influence the spousal support award. In addition, the judge will not create a spousal support arrangement that lasts longer than the marriage. For example, if your marriage lasted 15 years, alimony payments must end before the 15-year mark from divorce.
When going through a divorce, disentangling is the hardest part. The divorce decree only does so much and no more. Couples still need to do a lot of the legwork when it comes to closing accounts to protect themselves. One reason for this is that many exes continue to share joint accounts to care for the children or to handle spousal support.
Subsequently, joint accounts do not automatically close after a divorce. Exes might need to make that request formally. Whenever possible, it might also make sense to close some accounts ahead of the divorce, such as credit card accounts.
Business Insider reminds readers that even if one party agrees to take responsibility for a joint credit card account, if both parties remain on the account, both parties are liable. There is no telling how a person’s finances might stretch after a divorce, so this might prove risky even when the spouse usually displayed responsible spending habits. When the spouse is not responsible or a lot of friction exists, one spouse might deliberately run up the bill to spite the other person.
Experian says it is important to remember that creditors might not pay any attention to divorce contracts as their contracts are with both parties. Because of this, removing spouses as authorized users is important. Things become even more complicated in community property states, as creditors might hold both parties accountable regardless of whose name the accounts are in. Thankfully, Florida is not a community property state, so removing authorized users or closing the accounts altogether might help.
Divorce is a difficult time for all parties involved. There is an adjustment period required and even the person who first requested the divorce might feel pressured by going from sharing burdens to handling everything alone.
Disputes over money can roil a lot of divorces, especially when it comes to couples who have a lot of wealth. High income couples who want to cooperate with each other recognize this fact and try to resolve asset issues before a divorce even looms on the horizon. One way wealthy couples can do so is through a postnuptial agreement.
According to Fox Business, high income couples have particular reasons for wanting to compose postnuptial agreements, which often involve how to divide money and property if the couple decides to end their marriage. Here are four reasons why a wealthy couple may decide to draft a postnuptial agreement.
Addressing sudden wealth
A couple may live on modest means, when all of a sudden, one of the spouses has suddenly come into a lot of money from a new job, or the spouse has created a valuable piece of intellectual property like a bestselling book. When a couple experiences a rapid increase in money or assets, they may create a postnuptial agreement to limit how much money the high earning spouse has to pay to the other spouse in a divorce.
Separating real estate
In some marriages, one or both of the spouses will own their own real estate. Generally, a court will consider these properties separate property in the event of a divorce. However, if a spouse uses a property to generate income for a household or if another spouse contributes money or work towards a property, it may become marital property. Postnuptial agreements may help keep properties owned by each spouse separate.
Clarifying matters of inheritance
High income couples also use postnups to address inheritance issues. If a couple has children, the spouses may want their children to get a large inheritance. However, some situations may become complicated if a spouse has children from another marriage or outside of marriage. A postnuptial agreement can help clarify how to pass on assets to children in these situations.
Preventing debt burdens
Some high income earners carry debt and do not want their spouses to become burdened with their debt if they divorce. Couples concerned about debt can work this out in a postnuptial agreement. According to FindLaw, they can make sure that each party to the agreement is responsible for his or her own debts and do not pass it on to the other spouse.