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Alimony Attorneys in Melbourne, FL
Our spousal support attorneys in Melbourne, FL, can represent you in seeking alimony or negotiating your alimony payments. We understand how contentious these disputes can become and remain focused on obtaining the results you seek.
Why do I need a Spousal Support Attorney in Florida?
Spousal support is based on the economic circumstances of the parties. A spouse who did not work during the marriage or only worked part time during the marriage, may need financial support to meet their financial needs.
In order to meet financial needs, the court needs to balance one party’s ability to pay versus the other party’s reasonable monthly expenses.
Prior to the determination of alimony, the parties are required to divide their assets and debts for equitable distribution. After this happens, one party’s ability to pay and the other party’s need are properly determined.
You need to have a family law attorney on your side to advocate for your financial interests. The Figueroa Law Group, P.A. associates with allied professionals such as forensic CPAs, when needed for a skilled and careful analysis.
When this happens, you need to have a family law attorney on your side to advocate for your best interests. Family law is complicated and requires the expertise of an attorney with considerable knowledge and experience in family law.
Fortunately for you, our law firm has advocated for our clients for years to safeguard their financial future.
Our years of experience have earned us an excellent reputation for providing our clients with competent legal services. As well-rounded practitioners, we also provide legal services in other aspects of family law, including but not limited to:
- Contested & Uncontested Divorces
- Parenting Plans & Timesharing Arrangements
- Prenuptial & Postnuptial agreements
- Equitable Distribution of Assets & Liabilities
- Parental Relocation
What are you waiting for? Let us help you secure your financial future now!
What is Alimony?
Spousal support, commonly known as alimony or maintenance, is an award of monetary support based on the prior lifestyle of the marriage and economic interdependence. There needs to be sufficient income to support both parties’ lifestyle or the parties may be required to reduce their standard of living.
Alimony is a consideration when one spouse has stayed at home for a period of time to raise children or traveled to support the other party’s career and sometimes where the parties agreed for one spouse not to work. Payment of alimony is to ensure that the spouse receiving the alimony award can maintain their financial stability after the divorce. However, the spouse paying the alimony must have the ability to pay. Alimony can be awarded retroactive to the date of the filing of the petition.
The longer the marriage, there is a rebuttable presumption for permanent alimony and the court must find that no other forms of alimony are fair and reasonable. There must be a need for alimony. However, if both spouses have earned comparable income, assets, and steady occupations, the Florida court is unlikely to grant spousal support to either of you.
Spousal support can be ordered after the filing of a petition and can be ordered on a temporary basis based on current incomes while the case is pending until the court makes a final decision at the final hearing. Spousal support can also be awarded in a proceeding for a separation unconnected with the dissolution of marriage. Temporary alimony may not be waived by agreement (such as a prenuptial agreement) as it is against public policy.
There are a multitude of factors to be considered and which our skilled attorneys can guide you through to find the best solution for your financial circumstances.
Can the Amount of Spousal Support be Modified?
Yes, when a substantial change of circumstances that were not contemplated at the time of the original award, a modification is possible. There are various situations that may support a modification of alimony. Some of the change of circumstances can include:
- health issues
- increase or decrease in income
- change in employment status
- supportive relationship of the recipient spouse
If the parties enter into an agreement that states that alimony is non-modifiable, it is unlikely that a modification of alimony will occur. Crafting agreements requires a skilled attorney to include language such as how you can change spousal support in the future. There are a multitude of situations for which unique clauses or language should be included in an agreement for which our skilled attorneys can assist.
This is why it is critical to have a Florida spousal support attorney who is well-versed in Florida spousal support laws to provide you with the best legal advice.
Is Alimony tax-deductible?
Alimony was once tax-deductible, and the receiving spouse was required to record the alimony as income. However, new legislation has modified the tax issue in alimony.
Those divorces finalized on or after January 1, 2019, can no longer avail themselves of the tax-deductible benefit. This means that the paying spouse will not enjoy an off-the-top deduction and therefore paying alimony will become more expensive. Moreover, alimony recipients will no longer be required to record the alimony award as income.
Awarding and Calculating Alimony in Florida
In Florida law, specific factors determine whether alimony will be awarded. Section 61.08, Florida Statutes, sets forth the factors used for alimony analysis, considering the following:
- Duration of the marriage
- Income available from all sources
- Earning Capacity, Educational levels, vocational skills, employability and time necessary to acquire skills
- Financial resources-including non-marital
- Age, physical and emotional condition
- Contribution to the marriage; child care, career building, education, homemaking
- Tax treatment of alimony (regardless of the recent changes to the Internal Revenue Code, it is still the responsibility of the Court to consider the tax consequences of an alimony award)
- Responsibilities each will have to children
- Standard of living established during the marriage
If there is no agreement, the court will consider the need for alimony before any form of alimony can be made and the other spouse’s ability to pay.
Remember that there is no specific formula to calculate alimony, and the amount may be determined by agreement between spouses or by the court. Alimony is not used to equalize the incomes of the parties. Another consideration involves the imputation of income where one spouse is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. In that situation, an analysis can be done to determine the imputation of income for purposes of the alimony determination. Moreover, overall the judge must consider not the gross incomes but rather the net incomes of the parties.
What Types of Alimony Are There?
Judges are given broad discretion in determining the type, length, and amount of alimony in divorce proceedings. Fortunately, there are a few different types of alimony in Florida that may be awarded to you, which are the following:
- Temporary alimony is given to a spouse who has a financial need during the divorce proceedings. This would assist the needy spouse in ensuring financial stability throughout the lengthy divorce proceedings. The temporary alimony ends or a final award of alimony is determined at the final hearing.
- Bridge-the-gap alimony is to assist in transitioning from being married to being single and may not exceed two years.
- Rehabilitative alimony is to establish the capacity for self-support of the receiving spouse, either through development of pervious skills or provision f the training necessary to develop potential supportive skills.
- Durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short duration (less than 7 years) or moderate duration (greater than 7 and less than 17 years) or following a marriage of long duration (17 years or more) if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. The duration or length of the durational alimony may not exceed the length of the marriage.
- Permanent alimony is following a marriage of long duration (17 or more years) to provide for your needs as they were established during the marriage. This allows a party to meet their needs and necessities of life following divorce. Before awarding permanent alimony, the court must find that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties.
Remember that the court can also award any combination of these types of alimony. It would depend on the situation of each spouse whether it would warrant more than 1 type of alimony.
Alimony is a crucial and often complex aspect of any divorce. Indeed, there is no black-and-white formula for calculating alimony in Florida. As a result, you must hire an experienced divorce attorney.
At the Figueroa Law Group, P.A., we will work closely with you to identify your alimony need or exposure. We can persuasively and powerfully advocate for you at the negotiating table or in the courtroom. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that your standard of living is respected and avoid an agreement that could be set aside if not crafted correctly.