Sarasota Alimony Attorneys
As divorces are becoming more and more commonplace, they are also becoming increasingly complicated — that is, divorces are not simply the separation of couples. Debts and assets are often distributed between spouses during and/or after a divorce. Further, alimony is often demanded by family courts.
What is Alimony?
Alimony is the technical/legal term that is used to describe payments that are given to a spouse by the corresponding spouse during and/or after a divorce is finalized. The goal of alimony is to assist the spouse financially, so that he/she is able to uphold a decent standard of living after a dissolution of marriage. The process of alimonies can be confusing and complex, but with the assistance of an alimony attorney, you can better understand your rights during a divorce and how alimony guidelines are dictated in the state of Florida.
Alimony vs. Spousal Support
Many people equate alimony and spousal support as interchangeable legal terms. In many states, alimony and spousal support mean the same thing. In others, the difference between alimony and spousal support is the amount of time that family courts demand. For example, in many states, spousal support is temporary or rehabilitative, whereas alimony payments can be permanently required.
How is Alimony Calculated?
Alimony payments vary due to several different factors. There is no fixed amount that is required of spouses. Each divorce is different. The needs of each spouse is different. Therefore, alimony payments are determined by the unique circumstances of the divorce.
The following factors are most commonly examined and utilized in determining alimony:
- The standard of living: Reasonably, family and divorce courts aim to protect the livelihood and survival of spouses after a divorce. Thus, the standard of living during the marriage is often a major consideration. If there is a large discrepancy between the standard of living during the marriage and after the marriage, alimony may be ordered.
- The duration of the marriage: Many times, family and divorce courts do not order alimony payments to spouses if they divorce shortly after being married. If, however, children are involved in a short-term marriage, courts may deem alimony as appropriate.
- Self-Support: A major consideration is each individual spouse’s ability to support and provide for himself/herself. Each individual’s level of education and income will be evaluated.
- The ability to make payments: One of the most important considerations for alimony is the ability of spouses to even make payments. A thorough analysis of each spouse’s gross income, debts, savings, needs, property, expenses and expenditures are necessary to determine if alimony payments are both necessary and possible.
Types of Alimony Available In Florida
All types of alimony are meant to assist one spouse when the other has more resources and/or skills for self-sufficiency following a divorce. A major factor in any alimony determination and amount is the length of the marriage.
In Florida, marriages are considered:
- Short-term: Fewer than seven years in length;
- Moderate-term: Between 7 and 17 years in length; or
- Long-term: More than 17 years in length.
Yet, all types of alimony can, and will, end when or if:
- One of the spouses dies;
- The receiving spouse remarries; or
- The receiving spouse cohabitates with another person as if they’re married.
If you or your former spouse are considering alimony, contact the divorce lawyers Sarasota residents know and trust at Tobaygo Law. Alimony, as with any other part of family law, is a complex area that often requires the help of an experienced alimony attorney for a satisfactory outcome.
Temporary alimony aims to cover the standard of living the receiving spouse had become accustomed to during the marriage while divorce proceedings are underway. Along with basic living expenses such as food, housing, and clothing included in the standard of living, so are luxuries. What are considered luxuries will vary from case-to-case but will be included in determining the amount. Temporary alimony ends when the divorce is finalized but may be replaced by another type of alimony. A Sarasota divorce attorney with Tobaygo Law will help you determine what type of alimony would best replace temporary alimony in your case.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is meant to help the receiving spouse financially for a determined amount of time, generally no more than two years. It’s sometimes referred to as transitional alimony as it’s meant to help the receiving spouse adjust financially after being married. While bridge-the-gap alimony has several similarities to durational alimony, it has restrictions that differentiate it. Once it’s awarded by the court, bridge-the-gap alimony can’t be modified. It also ends immediately if the receiving spouse dies or remarries.
Permanent Periodic Alimony
Also referred to as permanent alimony, permanent periodic alimony is provided when one spouse doesn’t have the ability to maintain the standard of living set during the marriage. The court will look at what your specific standard of living was and determine an amount to reasonably continue the standard. It’s usually only awarded for moderate- and long-term marriages, but may be awarded in a short-term marriage with extraordinary circumstances.
Lump Sum Alimony
Lump sum alimony may be awarded when existing circumstances would make periodic alimony payments unsuitable. Because it is a one-time payment of money or property, lump sum alimony usually can’t be modified or annulled. Like other forms of alimony, the lump sum is taxable for the receiving spouse and deductible for the paying spouse. If you have questioned whether lump sum alimony would be more appropriate in your case, contact an experienced divorce attorney Sarasota residents trust with Tobaygo Law.
Rehabilitative alimony is often provided when one spouse worked and the other spouse was removed from the workforce, such as being responsible for taking care of children in the home. This form of alimony is meant to help the receiving spouse financially while they redevelop or acquire skills, training, and/or education for them to re-enter the workforce. The length of the marriage is taken into consideration for rehabilitative alimony.
As the name implies, durational alimony is a form of alimony which lasts for a predetermined length of time or duration. The duration can’t exceed the length of the marriage which is limited to 17 years in Florida. Durational alimony can be modified if a change in circumstances occurs, but only applies to the amount, not duration. If durational alimony was awarded in your divorce and circumstances have changed, contact Tobaygo Law to speak with a family law attorney Sarasota residents know and trust.
Alimony Attorneys are Necessary
Alimony can be a complex, even sensitive process. Many spouses do not believe that it is right, fair, or appropriate for them to pay alimony to their former spouses. Meanwhile, other spouses believe that they are owed alimony payments due to many years of investing time, money, energy and commitment to the marriage. In marriages that involve infidelity and/or domestic violence and abuse, many spouses believe that they are entitled to alimony awards to compensate for their pain and suffering.
No matter what side of the spectrum you are positioned, an alimony lawyer can assist you in numerous ways. Here’s how:
- Alimony lawyers can arrange a thorough investigation into the income and assets of spouses, as to ensure that the ability to pay alimony and the amount of alimony ordered properly accounts for all funds, estate, and property.
- Alimony lawyers can negotiate on your behalf, placing your needs and interests at the forefront.
- Alimony lawyers can help you understand legalese. In addition, he/she can guide you through the alimony process, ensuring that the proper documents are filed accordingly.
At Tobaygo Law, our experienced Sarasota Divorce Attorneys are pleased to provide all of these services and more during and/or after a divorce. With many years of experience, our family and divorce lawyers are proud to serve Sarasota, FL, and the surrounding areas.
For assistance with the alimony procedure, or for general help with all of your needs during a divorce, rely on an experienced Sarasota Family Law Attorney at our firm. As a courtesy to you, we charge absolutely zero payments for the initial consultation.