Sarasota Spousal Support Lawyer

Spousal Support Lawyer Serving Clients In Sarasota County And Manatee County, Florida

Spousal Support, commonly referred to as Alimony, is a support payment from one spouse to another based on the the idea that after, and sometimes during the divorce process, the spouse who was the traditional wage-earning spouse should continue to provide financial support to the non wage-earning spouse.

How are spousal support guidelines determined?

Unlike child support, spousal support guidelines are indicated and calculated using a prescribed formula, spousal is largely up to the discretion of the Judge. Florida Statutes provide that a Judge is to make an spousal support determination based on the receving party's "need", and the supporting party's "ability to pay".

The Judge determines the need/ability to pay of the parties using a variety of tools, but the primary guides for the Court are the parties Financial Affidavits. It is not uncommon for parties to understate their income, and overstate their need in order to gain an advantage in the spousal support or child support arena. This is why something called "Mandatory Disclosure" is so important. This allows us to take a detailed look at the finances of our client and the opposing party, to ensure an advantageous presentation of the parties' financial status to the Court.

What factors does the Court consider in making a spousal support decision?

After a thorough review of the financial affidavits and financial records of the parties, the Court considers the following factors outlined in Florida Statute 61.08:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party 
  • The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each. 
  • The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties.  
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage, including services like homeaking, child care, and career building of the other party. 
  • The responsibilities each party will have with regard to the minor children.

How does the Court know how much to Order?

Aside from the limited guidance given above, the short answer is, they don't. The Florida Statutes provide little guidance when it comes to actual numbers, and recent attempts to enact a law that provides a standard spousal support formula have failed.

The Courts, and attorneys rely primarily on past decisions of other local Courts (and the results of cases that have been appealed) as guidance in deciding the actual amount to be paid. For a more detailed discussion on how the Courts reach a decision, contact our office to schedule a consultation.

Contact us by email to arrange a consultation with an experienced Sarasota spousal support lawyer today.