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Protocol for alimony determination in Florida

Florida residents considering divorce may have questions about spousal support. There are guidelines established by the state that provide for a recipient's acclimation to being single once again. The court uses certain factors to decide how the amount of alimony is determined.

In Florida, spousal support may be considered rehabilitative, allowing either party to retrain such that their employability is enhanced or permanent. Such support is usually paid by the higher-earning party. Support may be paid in one payment, or it may be paid at predetermined intervals. In addition, the court might ask that the payer obtain life insurance that will cover alimony payments should he or she predecease the recipient.

The court considers the duration of the marriage and the health and age of both parties. The ability of both parties to support themselves and their earning capacity is used as well as assets they may hold separately. The contribution each made to the marriage, whether from income or taking care of the home and children, is factored into the final decision concerning alimony. For instance, if one party left the workforce to care for the marital home and raise the children, the court might see this as a reason for the other to provide support for in education efforts that might lead to self-sufficiency. If one assisted the other in seeking higher education or career advancement, the alimony award may reflect that.

A family law attorney may help a client obtain the financial support needed once the divorce has become final. The attorney can review financial records and the assets held by both parties and can offer guidance and advice on whether to choose a lump sum alimony payment if tax or other reasons suggest it.

Source: Divorce Support, "Florida Spousal Support/Maintenance/Alimony Factors", September 22, 2014

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