When people in Florida decide to divorce, there can be significant financial consequences. This is especially true when there are major financial disparities between the parties or when the marriage has persisted for a long period of time before the decision to separate. In some of these cases, spousal support may be an appropriate mechanism to allow the lower-earning spouse to adjust their lives after the divorce and avoid sudden poverty. However, spousal support is only one part of the total process; in many cases, it cannot be calculated until overall property division is dealt with.
State law formulas guide decisions about spousal support, even when the final agreement comes into play through a negotiated settlement between the parties. The factors that are used to calculate alimony or determine whether it is necessary at all include the need of the recipient spouse, the wealth and ability to pay of the paying spouse, the length of the marriage, the couple’s lifestyle and both partners’ age and health. For example, in a marriage that ends after 30 years with one partner a lifelong homemaker, that spouse is far more likely to receive alimony than one ending a five-year marriage in which one spouse is lower on the career ladder than the other.
The purpose of spousal support is to prevent the lower wage earner from being thrown into poverty due to the end of the relationship. This is especially true because many stay-at-home parents and homemakers provided important support that allowed their successful spouse’s star to rise.
In some cases, people may receive temporary spousal support that provides more time for people to obtain education, skills or gainful employment. People going through a divorce might opt to work with a family law attorney to seek out a fair settlement on all outstanding matters, including property division and spousal support.