Law Office of Daniel E. Forrest, P.A.

Wealthy, married couples in South Florida may be comfortable with their current lifestyles. Couples may be able to afford going out to eat on a regular basis and participating in a variety of activities when both spouses are earning high incomes. Other couples may be able to afford living off of one income so that one spouse can stay home with the children. These are lifestyles that couples become accustomed to, but when married couples divorce, these types of lifestyles may be threatened.

Although divorce does require spouses to make some significant changes, spouses still need to make sure they protect their finances and lifestyles during the divorce process. One way to do this is to negotiate alimony or spousal support payments. If one spouse has sacrificed a career to stay home with the children or has a significantly lower income compared to the other spouse, alimony will be an important issue to address during divorce.

To determine how much a spouse should be entitled to receive in alimony, judges will review a couple's standard of living and award alimony based on what is reasonable for an ex-spouse to receive in order to maintain his or her lifestyle after divorce. Although alimony payments and terms are supposed to be determined in a fair manner, some divorcees and lawmakers believe that Florida's alimony laws are not fair and need to be changed.

Currently, alimony may be awarded in several different ways. Alimony may offer ex-spouses temporary financial help as ex-spouses get used to their new financial situations after divorce. Alimony payments may be calculated based on the duration of a couple's marriage. And in some cases, ex-spouses may be awarded alimony for the rest of their lives. Some believe that lifetime alimony payments are not fair, and now Florida lawmakers are pushing to put an end to lifetime or permanent alimony payments.

Another change lawmakers are proposing is calculating alimony payments based on both spouses' incomes. Currently, there is no specific formula that is used to calculate alimony payments.

What do you think about this issue? Are current alimony laws unfair in Florida? Are you worried about what will happen if you divorce and need to receive or pay alimony? To learn more about protecting your finances and lifestyle after divorce, you may want to consider the benefits of working with a knowledgeable divorce attorney.

Source: Crestview News Bulletin, "Alimony reform bills propose relief from lifelong payments," Brian Hughes, Feb. 25, 2013

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