Few issues in Florida divorces cause more headaches than alimony. One spouse getting a divorce may resent having to financially support the other, leading to bitter conflicts and heated courtroom battles. While it’s important that both spouses can support themselves after a divorce, it is equally important that the spouse paying alimony can afford the payments while remaining financially stable. In many instances, working with an experienced alimony lawyer makes the process easier on all involved.
Whether you’re the spouse paying alimony or the one receiving it, a Tampa alimony attorney at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can protect your rights and financial stability. Our full-service law firm has helped many people navigate Florida’s complex alimony laws, and we can help make sure the courts treat you fairly. We are equally experienced at helping people on either side of an alimony dispute and will make the legal process as simple as possible.
Call us today or visit our contact page for a free case review with a Tampa alimony lawyer.
What Is Alimony and Why Does It Exist?
Alimony is the legal term for payments made by someone to their former spouse after a divorce. Lawyers sometimes use the term “spousal support” instead of alimony, but both terms mean the same thing.
Many people think it’s unfair to ask someone to financially support their former spouse after a divorce, but there are several good reasons why alimony exists, such as:
- Alimony helps both spouses maintain their pre-divorce standard of living, especially if only one spouse was working before the divorce.
- Alimony helps stay-at-home spouses find their feet after a divorce.
- Alimony helps dependent spouses in cases where one spouse bears more of the financial impact of a divorce.
What Is Considered When Calculating Alimony?
Florida law specifies what factors a judge must consider when calculating alimony payments. Those factors include:
- Each spouse’s standard of living during the marriage
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age, physical health, and emotional wellbeing
- Each spouse’s income, assets, and debts
- The earning capacity, vocational skills, and education each spouse has
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, including childcare, housekeeping, etc.
- The potential tax consequences of alimony for both spouses
- “Any other factor necessary” to reach a fair decision
The length of the marriage is an especially important factor in alimony payments. State law specifies that a short-term marriage is any marriage of fewer than seven years; a moderate-term marriage is any marriage that lasts between seven and 17 years; and a long-term marriage is any marriage longer than 17 years. A spouse in a moderate-term or long-term marriage will likely receive more alimony than a spouse in a short-term marriage.
What Happens If Alimony Isn’t Paid?
If a spouse refuses to make their court-ordered alimony payments, they could face legal consequences, including jail time in extreme circumstances. The courts may also order a payor spouse to cover the recipient spouse’s legal fees, pay a fine, or pay interest to the recipient spouse.
Can Men Get Alimony?
Men can receive alimony in Florida, though it is more common for women to receive alimony. Because men typically make more money than women and have an easier time finding work, they usually pay alimony. However, men can receive alimony if they can show that their spouse makes more than they do or if they have a severe illness that limits their job prospects.
Talk to an alimony lawyer in Tampa for more information on when men can get alimony.
Can Alimony Be Changed?
It is possible to have an alimony order changed by petitioning the courts. To have an alimony order changed, the petitioner must show how there has been a significant change in their circumstances or their spouse’s circumstances, such as a new job or the recipient spouse remarrying. An experienced Tampa alimony attorney can help you petition the courts to have an alimony order altered.