Spousal Support: Achieving The Best Outcomes
One huge concern many individuals weigh as they contemplate divorce is whether they will have the means to live and flourish after a marriage ends. The higher earner may have anxiety related to requirements for spousal support: will payments annihilate any chance of a future? Meanwhile, a partner who never worked outside the home, or whose earnings were quite limited may struggle trying to imagine a future without significant provisions from a former spouse. How do the courts work to find a fair spousal support settlement that provides opportunity to both parties?
Considerations in Determining Spousal Support
As the court determines the reasonable needs of someone requesting spousal support, a number of issues are considered:
- The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage;
- The length of the marriage;
- The ages of each individual and their physical and mental capabilities;
- All financial resources available to each individual;
- The earning capacity and marketable skills of each individual;
- The amount of time one individual may need to gain marketable skills to enter the workforce;
- The ways in which each partner contributed to the marriage, career-building, and family;
- The ability to support oneself due to child care issues;
- Tax implications of alimony;
- The amount the payer brings in and could reasonably part with while still maintaining a living.
In general, the length of the marriage is thought to fit into three categories, which is a key consideration in determining the amount and duration of alimony payments:
- Short-term: < seven years
- Moderate-term: 7-17 years
- Long-term: 17+ years
The goal of these considerations is to ensure each partner is able to manage to restart life with adequate economic means going forward.
Types of Alimony
The courts have several scenarios to choose from when awarding spousal support:
- Bridge the Gap: Short-term payments (two years or less) to give one partner a leg up while transitioning to single life;
- Rehabilitative: Payments designed to assist a lesser earning spouse achieve specific training or educational goals;
- Durational: Payments designed to last a specific period of time based on situational need;
- Permanent: Lifetime provisions for individuals who are deemed deserving of it based on the duration of the marriage or other circumstances– funds are designed to last until the death of either party or re-marriage of the recipient.
Revamps of Florida law related to alimony have been proposed and defeated time and again in the legislature, and are sure to reappear in the coming years.
Negotiating the Best Deal
You can count on the experienced Boca Raton family attorneys at WiseLieberman to work diligently toward the best outcomes for you in divorce and alimony negotiations. Whether that means a settlement or having your day in court, your best interests are always front of mind. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.