Facts About Alimony in Florida Divorces

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Alimony awards in Florida are currently based upon one spouse’s needs and the other spouse’s ability to pay.  Along with that there are 30 statutory factors that a judge may consider in awarding alimony.  Some of the more heavily weighted factors are the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the lifestyle of the marriage, education of the parties. 

There are several types of alimony: durational, bridge the gap, permanent, and lump sum.  Durational alimony is awarded usually to spouses in marriages in the 5 to 16 year category. The alimony can’t last for longer than the marriage did.  Bridge the gap alimony is usually awarded for shorter term marriages with the purpose of getting the needy spouse back on his/her feet.  Permanent alimony is usually for marriages of 17 years or longer.   Lump sum alimony is where the parties agree that a lump sum can be given instead of payouts. 

There is also non modifiable alimony and modifiable alimony.  Modifiable alimony is based on a substantial, material involuntary change in circumstances since the alimony was awarded.

Once it is determined that a spouse is in fact entitled to an alimony award, the question then becomes how much and for how long.  This is often litigated in the courtroom or agreed upon by the parties in mediation. For more information about alimony or other important divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers are ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

All I Want For Christmas Is A Divorce. How Do I Get One?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

You start by taking stock…of your situation, your family finances, your assets and your debts.  Educate yourself as to your spouse’ income, his/her spending, and whereabouts.  Then pick up the phone to a divorce lawyer.

Once you have a good idea of the value of your house, your stock accounts, your incomes, get your hands on your tax returns, bank statements, credit card bills, mortgage papers, loan applications, insurance documents, estate planning instruments, and anything else that evidences money. 

Remember in Florida, there is no fault divorce; there is equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, and there is premarital property that may or may not have been comingled.  There is also permanent alimony, durational alimony, bridge the gap alimony, and no alimony.  There is child time sharing, child support, shared parental responsibility, or sole parental responsibility. 

There is money for attorneys fees and costs, or not.  There is mediation and settlement, or trial.  There are depositions, mandatory financial disclosure, and penalties for not producing financial disclosure.  Divorce is a process, but in certain circumstances, it is the best gift you could ever give yourself.  You don’t need his/her permission to get a divorce in this state.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com for more information.  

What Is The Connection Between Length Of A Marriage And Florida Alimony Laws?

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Clients often ask me how much alimony they are going to have to pay, or in other cases, how much alimony they are going to get.  Unlike child support awards, which is a statutory calculation based upon the combined net monthly incomes of the husband and the wife, alimony awards are determined by the circumstances of the marriage and are given under the law but at the discretion of the sitting judge.

One of the key factors in any alimony award if you are the recipient, or obligation if you are the payor, is the length of the marriage.  The State of  Florida breaks it down into three categories: short term marriages, long term marriages and grey area or middle ground marriages.  In short term marriages, usually 0 to 8 years, alimony awards are highly scrutinized by the court.  In grey area marriages, 8 years long to 17 years long, alimony is most often awarded if there is a disparity of incomes, and a spouse can prove his/her need and the ability of the other spouse to pay.  In long term marriages of 17 years of more, alimony is based upon need and ability to pay and could be a permanent situation.  There are about 30 statutory factors that a judge MAY consider in any ruling awarding alimony:  things like age and health of both parties, education level of the party requesting the alimony, marketable skills set, ability to earn a living, and many others. 

There was a recent challenge to the alimony laws in the State of Florida, but it was vetoed lst year by Florida Governor Rick Scott.  As it stands now, there are several types of alimony which may be awarded: short term or bridge the gap alimony, durational alimony which cannot be for longer than the marriage was, rehabilitative alimony to send a spouse back to school or train for a self supporting career,  and permanent alimony which is lifetime.  For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.famiilylawwpb.com for more information.

Short Term Marriages Usually Mean No Alimony In Divorce

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are in a short term marriage defined as five years or less by the case law in the state of Florida, chances are you will not be able to collect alimony from your spouse in divorce court.   Or if you qualify, alimony will be of the bridge the gap variety, if at all.

Alimony or spousal support is based upon the relative incomes of the parties or the relative access to independent funds.  One spouse has to prove a need, and the other spouse’ ability to pay.  If a spouse has the need, but the other has no ability to pay, there will be no alimony irregardless of the length of the marriage.  Also, a court cannot award an alimony for a time that is longer than the marriage, if at all, unless the marriage is 17 plus years and the spouse qualifies for permanent alimony.

Bottom line, if you are in a short term marriage, chances are the court will not grant you any alimony unless it is also short term, as in bridge the gap alimony.   An award of alimony is determined by 30 statutory factors, so consult with one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.  REMEMBER:  divorce cases are fact driven and every case is different.  Remember too that Florida is a no fault state and alimony is generally not a punishment but an entitlement.

Why Do I Have To Pay Alimony?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Alimony is spousal support granted to one spouse and paid by the other when certain circumstances exist in a marriage.  There are 30 statutory factors that go into an alimony award.

First, the petitioning spouse has to prove a need, and that the other party has the ability to pay.  Financial affidavits are very important to establish need and ability to pay.  Secondly, things like the length of the marriage are important.  In a short term marriage of up to 3 years, alimony is less likely to be granted.  Contribution to the marriage, age of the parties, health of the parties, relative incomes of the parties, education levels, these are all relevant in an alimony request. 

There are also several different types of alimony.  Bridge the gap is a short term award to get a party back on his/her feet.  Lump sum alimony is a windfall pay off and usually gives a discount to the payor.  Permanent alimony is until the recipient spouse dies or remarries.   Rehabilitative alimony is a short term alimony used for re education to allow a spouse to become self sufficient. 

For more information about alimony and YOUR rights, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Do NOT do divorce on your own if…

By Robin Roshkind, West Palm Beach, Florida

In today’s economy, couples are fighting with each other over money, one of the most common causes of divorce.  Some couples will attempt to do a settlement of all their marital issues on their own and without the advice of counsel, in order to save money in attorneys fees.  However, there are certain circumstances where a divorce REQUIRES the skills of an experienced divorce lawyer like those at my Firm, and a spouse would be penny wise and pound foolish to go it alone.

Here are the situations where having a divorce lawyer on your side is A MUST:

1.  Where a spouse is self employed.

2.  Where a spouse works for cash under the table.

3.  Where a spouse hasn’t filed a tax return in years.

4.  Where a spouse is the sole owner of a closely held corporation.

5.  Where there was a business formed by one or the other DURING the marriage, or where there is a spouse working in a family business.

6.  Where the spouse does not know the true net worth.

7.  Where the spouse does not have access to books and records.

8.  Where the spouse has no idea of the assets or debts of the marriage.

9.  Where there are children of the marriage that have special needs.

10.  Where there is a spouse who has drug addiction, gambling addiction, alcholism, shopaholic tendencies, or a paramour.

11.  Where one or the other spouse entered the marriage with assets.

12.  Where there has been an inheritence during the marriage.

13.   Where a spouse has mental health issues like bi polar, anger management problems, domestic violence.

14.  Where a spouse has a criminal record, restraining orders.

15.  Where a spouse cannot be employed or keep steady employment.

16.  Where a spouse is supported by family members.

17.  Where there are numerous real properties, income producing rentals, time shares and vacation homes. 

18.  If the marriage is more than 10 years and there is alimony, permanent alimony, rehabilitative alimony, bridge the gap alimony to be discussed and negotiated.

19.  Where a spouse has another family with children either prior to this marriage or outside of this marriage.

20.  Where paternity is at issue.

21.  Where the spouses are extremely unequal in education or ability to earn, or by measure of individual wealth. 

22.  Where a pre nuptial agreement should be contested.

If ANY of these circumstances apply to you, you should at least consult with an attorney before attempting a divorce on your own.  For more information, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

Do you qualify for alimony?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

In the state of Florida, there are several types of alimony:  bridge the gap, rehabilitative, permanent and lump sum.  Florida Statute Chapter 61.075 controls whether or not a spouse in entitled to alimony.

The first premise is need of one spouse and ability of the other to pay.  Then there are about 30 statutory requirements that determine whether or not a spouse is a candidate for some type of alimony support.

Factors such as age of the parties, health of the parties, contribution to the marriage, duration of the marriage, education of the parties and other circumstances are considered under the law in an alimony award.

If the parties agree to settle, there could also be an agreement on alimony and whether or not it should be modifiable.  If a payor is anticipating an increase in salary or bonus down the road, it would pay to have unmodifiable alimony., one that won’t change even if income goes up.   Likewise if the payee anticipates a greater need, say for health reasons, down the road, it would be beneficial to have a modifiable alimony, one that could be changed because of changed circumstances later on.

Alimony and other subjects are discussed in the Robin Roshkind, P.A. website at www.familylawwpb.com, or call to discuss your particular situation with one of the attorneys at the Firm at 561-835-9091.