Divorce can significantly impact a couple’s financial status, and a spouse may not be prepared to support themselves when they begin living apart. This can be particularly true when one spouse earns significantly more than the other.
In Palm Beach County, if one spouse was financially dependent on the other during the marriage, that spouse may be entitled to support.
Under Florida law, alimony is not automatically awarded and is based on a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, income levels of both spouses, earning capacity of the spouses, the existence of prenuptial agreements, and others. Whether you seek alimony, are asked to pay it, or need to modify the support amount, you may require the advice of qualified legal counsel. a West Palm Beach spousal support lawyer could assist you.
Factors to Consider When Determining Alimony/Spousal Support
When asked to grant spousal support in a divorce action, a court must first determine if it is warranted. If so, the court must decide which type of support to award, in what amount, and for what duration. In doing so, the court considers the factors outlined in Florida Statutes § 61.08:
- The parties’ standard of living during the marriage
- Each party’s age and physical and emotional condition
- Each party’s financial resources
- Each party’s earning capacity, vocational skills, employability, and the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to find suitable employment
- Each party’s contributions to the marriage, including caring for the home and children
- The parties’ responsibilities to their shared children
- The tax consequences to both parties of an alimony award
- All sources of income for each party
A Palm Beach County court deciding alimony could also consider any other factor it deems necessary to “do equity and justice between the parties.” However, unless exceptional circumstances exist, a spousal support award may not leave the paying party with significantly less income than the financially dependent spouse.
Types of Alimony/Spousal Support in West Palm Beach
Unlike child support, no statutory alimony guidelines exist. Instead, alimony is based primarily on the needs of the spouse requesting spousal support and ability of the spouse with superior earning capacity to pay. A court may award several different types of spousal support, and each has a specific purpose for the recipient.
Rehabilitative Alimony/ Spousal Support
Rehabilitative or temporary alimony may be awarded when a spouse needs help to pursue a long-term goal, such as education, which will result in more income. The spouse seeking it must present a detailed plan for achieving financial independence to the court.
Bridge-the-Gap Alimony/Spousal Support
To assist in the transition from marriage to single life, “bridge the gap” alimony is sometimes awarded. It could be granted temporarily for up to two years or paid in a lump sum. These resources are often used for living expenses such as a vehicle or new housing.
Durational Alimony/Spousal Support
This type of support may be granted if other alimony is not sufficient to meet the recipient’s needs. The term of this support may not exceed the length of the marriage.
Permanent Alimony/Spousal Support
Permanent support may be paid monthly and for an indefinite time. It would terminate when either spouse dies or if the recipient remarries. It may terminate or will be reduced if the recipient cohabitates with someone. It is generally appropriate when the recipient cannot support themselves, even with additional education or training.
Consulting with a West Palm Beach spousal support lawyer could be helpful if a party is trying to determine what type of alimony, they may be eligible for or what they could be required to pay.
If a court granted alimony in a divorce, Florida Statutes §61.14 permits alimony/spousal support to be modified if a substantial change in circumstances occurs. This term is defined as an unexpected or involuntary change affecting the former spouse’s ability to pay, or the recipient’s need for, support. Substantial changes could include a party’s health issues, a significant increase or decrease in either party’s income, or the recipient’. A knowledgeable attorney in the Palm Beach County area could assess whether the changes in a party’s health, employment, or other life circumstances might warrant a modification of alimony.
A Spousal Support Attorney in West Palm Beach Could Offer Guidance About Your Financial Future
West Palm Beach alimony/spousal support lawyer Charles D. Jamieson has successfully represented the best interests of his clients for over 25 years. He has a wide range of knowledge and experience, and continually educates himself in all matters relating to alimony and spousal support. This benefits clients in the most complex cases where large estates, asset protection, and other monetary issues may be involved.
An avid proponent of continuing education in the various aspects of family law, Mr. Jamieson has been a frequent guest presenter at seminars on divorce related issues within the state. Listening carefully to his clients’ priorities helps him articulate their needs to the family law court to protect their lifestyle. To speak with a lawyer about your alimony concerns, contact us online or call today.