How Does Alimony Work?

In the practice of family law in Florida, alimony is a topic that comes up frequently, but for such a surprisingly common issue the basics of it are often misunderstood.

What is alimony?

Divorce in Florida is difficult enough on the parties involved without worrying about how one’s life will be affected after the process is at an end. Money should never be the reason that an unhappy marriage persists, but it is all too often the case, and alimony is one aspect of divorce law that is designed to make the adjustment to a new life a little easier.

Alimony at its most basic is the financial support that a partner is due from their ex spouse after a separation to maintain a standard of living that is similar to what they are used to. It’s decided by the court based on what one partner can afford to pay compared to the other’s need for financial support.

Florida has an aspect of divorce called “permanent alimony” that often has long lasting effects that can cause issues that last for years. Whether it be an adjustment of alimony, or representation for an alimony case in Tallahassee, Florida, a divorce attorney can help you with advice about your case.

Is adultery factored into alimony decisions in Florida?

Florida is identified as a “no-fault divorce state.” What that means is that there is no need to prove adultery or other reasons in order to file for a divorce and that factors into whether or not alimony would be adjusted based on an extramarital affair. Often, the only real requirement is that there be irreconcilable differences between the two parties and because of this, a judge should not generally use adultery when considering the financial future of the two people.

If one member of the marriage has used marital funds to further an affair, this may be considered when deciding what alimony will look like for the ex spouses.

What about the length of time that the couple were married?

Generally, this is taken into account when two people decide that they no longer wish to be married and file for divorce. There are generally three lengths of time recognized by the state of Florida when it comes to alimony.

Short-term marriage

These marriages are typically considered to be less than seven years. With the average length of a marriage in Florida reaching around eight years, these marriages are considered pretty common.

Moderate-term marriage

A moderate term marriage is identified as a seven to seventeen year marriage. 

Long-term marriage

Any marriage that has lasted longer than 17 years.

Collecting on owed alimony

An ex-spouse can make it very difficult to get the alimony that a judge has decided is a fair payment. Under modern family law in Florida, there are a few options that can be considered when determining how best to receive what a judge has deemed a fair alimony payment, one of the most popular being garnishment.

Garnishment of wages cases are an effort by one party to take an amount of the wages of an ex-spouse and send them directly to the party receiving financial compensation.

Garnishments can also come from other sources than wages. For example, a court in Miami ruled that they may come from pension.

Money shouldn’t be the reason that anyone stays in a bad situation, and an experienced family law attorney near you can help. Consultations are always free at Borntreger Marital and Family Law and if you’re considering divorce, we invite you to contact us as you plan for the process.

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