You live in Florida and are getting a divorce. You want to know if you are exposed to having to pay alimony to your spouse. Here are 6 important considerations in determining alimony:
1. Need. Before a judge will award alimony, the recipient must show a reasonable need. Review your spouse’s financial affidavit to determine: that the expenses stated there are reasonable; that the expenditures stated are consistent with the expenses during the marriage; and that the expenses are verifiable. If you support your adult children, congratulations for being a great parent, however, there is no duty to support adult children and support of an adult child is therefore arguably, not reasonable.
2. Ability to Pay. Before a judge will award alimony, the pecuniary spouse (the moneyed spouse) generally must have the ability to pay alimony. Review your financial affidavit to determine: that the expenses stated there are reasonable; that the expenditures stated are consistent with the expenses during the marriage; and that the expenses are verifiable. Again, if you support your adult children, congratulations for being a great parent, however, there is no duty to support adult children and support of an adult child is therefore arguably, not reasonable. There is, however, a duty to support a needy spouse.
3. Lifestyle during Marriage. The longer the marriage, the more important lifestyle during the marriage becomes. Recent lifestyle is most important. For example, if you had a high-end lifestyle in the first few years but have had a middle class lifestyle in the most recent years, then the lifestyle is middle class and not upper class.
4. Value of Assets. Before resolving a claim for alimony, the trial judge will first distribute the assets and debts of the marriage equitably. That distribution will affect the need for alimony and the ability to pay alimony. For example, distribution of an income producing asset will affect need and ability to pay alimony.
5. Employability of Recipient. If your spouse has a high school diploma and no employment history, then his employability is limited. If your spouse has a graduate degree and recent employment history, then her employability is not as limited. The type of alimony and the duration of alimony will depend on the recipient spouse’s employability.
6. Voluntary Under Employment or Voluntary Unemployment. Voluntary unemployment or voluntary under employment is not unusual in a divorce situation. Matrimonial lawyers (and judges, who are lawyers too) know this as R.A.I.D.S. Recently Acquired Income Deficiency Syndrome. If you can prove the unemployment or under employment is voluntary, then you can ask for an imputation of income at a higher level.
This article is for general informational purposes only. This article is not intended as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of an experienced Family Lawyer. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be made based on advertising alone. Contact me to provide written information about my qualifications. Visit my website at http://www.DoreenVarela.com for information about me and about my qualifications. Contact me at 561-820-0811 to discuss your particular circumstances in confidence.