Could I Be Eligible for Alimony?
Alimony is a court order that requires a spouse to make some form of monetary payments to the other spouse for a specified duration of time. The legal guidelines on calculating alimony in Florida are not determined by a statutory formula or legislated. Therefore, the amount payable is usually to the discretion of the Court, or the parties in question, so long as it fits within the applicable case law rulings for such a type of alimony. In my personal experience, that amount is 33% to 40% of your monthly net income. In recent years, it has pretty much been 40% of the paying spouse’s monthly net income (i.e.- monthly gross income minus monthly taxes and monthly health insurance for you and your spouse only). Also, alimony is not an obvious or clear-cut award in divorces which are not long-term in duration (e.g.- 17 years or more of marriage). Therefore, as a party seeking alimony, you have to demonstrate through facts and evidence whether you are eligible for it; what form you are eligible for (e.g.- bridge-the-gap alimony; rehabilitative alimony; durational alimony; lump sum alimony; and permanent periodic alimony). At the Law Office of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. we are Sarasota divorce attorneys who are aware of the effect of financial difficulties on you during and after a divorce. Therefore, before you ask the Court for alimony, it is best to consult with Sarasota Divorce Attorney Matthew Z. Martell and let us explain to you the types of alimony available for a short-term marriage; a mid-length marriage; and a long-term marriage as well as what type and amount of alimony you can realistically expect to received. Here are some of the factors the Court will use to determine your eligibility for alimony.
Take the example of a housewife who during the 25-year duration of marriage had no source of income but depended on the other spouse for financial survival. Such a situation is a very good case for obtaining permanent periodic alimony. Upon consideration, the Court would probably award both temporary alimony during the divorce itself and then permanent periodic alimony after the divorce was concluded until the payee spouse remarries or either spouse dies.
Standard of living during the marriage
Most of the facts surrounding your standard of living during the marriage will have to be proven. Normally, this is done by use of a Lifestyle Analysis Report which is prepared by expert witness forensic accountant. That accountant will review all of the financial records of the opposing spouse usually for approximately two (2) years from the date of filing the divorce and then determine what the actual monthly expenses for that spouse were. This C.P.A. will then testify in court as to what that spouse’s actually financial needs are based upon the lifestyle analysis as opposed to what that spouse claims his or her actual expenses are on his/her Family Law Financial Affidavit. Sarasota FL divorce attorney Matthew Z. Martell has experience earned over the years addressing such alimony issues. He has helped clients prove their standard of living standard conclusively through use of such expert witness C.P.A. testimony which is a factor considered in awarding alimony.
You must be married for a minimum of 7 years
In Florida, the length of marriage as a factor for alimony is a primarily factor for determining whether you can or cannot get alimony and what type of alimony you can get. Courts have often relied on the seven-year minimum duration of the marriage in order to determine that you may be alimony. Generally speaking, in a short-term marriage, which is less than seven (7) years, the presumption is that alimony should not be awarded. In a mid-term marriage, which is more than (7) years but less than 17 years, there is not a presumption for or against the award of alimony. So, in layman’s terms, it could go either way. If alimony is awarded, then the following types of alimony are usually available in a mid-term marriage: bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and durational alimony. The trend that I have seen lately is awarding of durational alimony for mid-term marriages but not for the full length of the marriage. In a long-term marriage, which is a marriage that is 17 years or longer, there is a presumption in favor of alimony. Assuming alimony is awarded, then the following types of alimony are usually available in a long-term marriage: bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony, permanent periodic alimony, and lump sum alimony. Normally, permanent periodic alimony is awarded which is the alimony that most spouses want. Also, even if you are in a short-term marriage, you can still get temporary alimony. It is even awarded in cases where there is a pre-nuptial agreement that says you cannot receive any forms of alimony at all. That is because Florida law prohibits pre-nuptial agreements from not allowing for temporary alimony.
Contact us to determine where you can get alimony in your divorce
Suppose you are going through a divorce in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, or Venice, Florida and have been wondering whether you qualify for alimony. We can help you determine whether you can get it and what type of alimony you can get. Please contact our Sarasota FL divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. and let us help you analyze your alimony case. We offer a Free Initial Phone Consultation for 30 minutes. Call us at (941) 556-7020 today to get help with your alimony case.