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.

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A Divorce Can Jump Start Your Life

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

A divorce can and often does jump start your life…instead of looking at a divorce as a failure, as many have a tendency to do, look at divorce as a positive beginning.  You are taking an affirmative step to get out of a bad situation.  Divorce can be like bankruptcy…a reorganization of your life. 

Here’s what you will need during or after your divorce:

1.  Do some estate planning and eliminate your spouse from your will, trusts and other estate planning documents.

2.  Reevaluate your life, health, accident, disability, car and long term care insurances.

3.  Get some tax advice either during divorce settlement talks or immediately thereafter.

4.  Same for financial advice…what to do with your settlement funds.

5.  If you want to go back to school or to work, seek the advice of a vocational counselor.  This is a must if you are asking for rehabilitative alimony and a must if you are planning a professional future that you don’t already have.

6.  See what your real estate investments are really worth to you… evaluate a refinancing or a purchase or a sale, or even becoming a landlord by renting out your property.

7.  Get yourself some psychological counseling.  This will help you with the transition from married to single.

Overall, you have a new you.  With the right attitude you will see how much you can accomplish.  For more information about the divorce process or if you are thinking about getting a divorce in Palm Beach County, 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.

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.

Divorce Settlement or Divorce Trial? How to Know When to Settle.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

The threshold question is as follows:  do you and your spouse want someone else deciding the outcome of your divorce?   Your finances?  Your family arrangements?   That someone else, of course, is the judge.  Someone who is totally unfamiliar with the family dynamics.  Oftentimes judges believe that if both parties leave the courtroom feeling cheated, the judge has done a good job. 

So under the best of circumstances, it is in the best interests of everyone involved, including the children, if any, for husbands and wives to come to a marital settlement agreement.  In fact, in Palm Beach County, Florida, where I practice, ALL parties to a divorce must attend mediation prior to taking the case to the courtroom.  This is a court administrative order.  Mediation talks are strictly confidential, and nothing said there is admissible if the case should get to the judge.

So how do you know when and if you should settle?  That is what we divorce attorneys are for.  Attorneys can predict what a reasonable outcome might be under the law.  We don’t have crystal balls on our desks, but within range and reason, we can discuss how the chips may fall.  Ultimately, the decision is the client’s, but with good counsel. 

Oftentimes, clients can waive their rights to some entitlement, just to get the deal done quickly and less costly.  This takes cooperation and compromise.  In order to waive one’s rights, let’s say, for example, to rehabilitative alimony, you have to know your entitlement.  If you are willing to effect a compromise, then settlement is more likely.   Collaborative divorce is less stressful, less expensive and takes less time and attorneys fees than does preparation for trial.

So trust the advice of counsel, and trust your instincts.  Finally, pick your battles wisely.  For more information about divorce settlements or trial information, go to our Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com or consult with one of our experienced divorce lawyers at Robin Roshkind, P.A. by calling 561-835-9091.