Ft. Lauderdale Alimony Lawyers
Boca Raton Spousal Support Attorneys
Accounting for the Possibility of Alimony
Alimony is the least predictable aspect of divorce. Judges have wide latitude in determining whether financial support is merited in your case. Even with 20 years of experience as Florida divorce attorneys, we cannot say for sure whether alimony will be awarded or its amount and duration. However, we can give a fair idea based on your circumstances, and help you plan for whichever way the court may rule or assist you in resolving the issue by agreement.
Curtis R. Cowan, P.A., in Fort Lauderdale, represents divorcing men and women throughout Broward County and South Palm Beach County. Contact our Fort Lauderdale office at (954) 953-2575 to discuss the unique factors in your marital property division. Curtis R. Cowan is a board-certified marital and family lawyer and a certified mediator, and have represented clients of all economic strata.
Alimony — A Wildcard in Divorce
The law holds that both parties contributed to the marital estate, and that it is not fair for one party to enjoy the same lifestyle after divorce while the other struggles to make ends meet. The court’s decision that one party should pay alimony to the other is based on two primary factors: one party’s need for financial assistance and the other’s ability to pay. Alimony can be awarded to either a husband or a wife.
The judge has considerable discretion in awarding spousal support. The primary criteria are disproportionate incomes (e.g., he’s an executive, she’s a clerical worker) and length of the marriage, but there are other considerations. Alimony is rarely awarded in shorter marriages of 7 years or less. Alimony is commonly awarded in marriages of 17 years or more. Marriages in the “gray area” between are the hardest to predict. Other criteria the court will consider are the requesting party’s age and health, education and earning capacity, and contributions to the marriage and child-rearing.
Spousal support is determined after equitable distribution of assets, when the judge can gauge whether it is needed and how much the higher-earning spouse can pay. If awarded, it may be:
- Rehabilitative alimony — the receiving spouse has a specific plan, such as completing a college degree
- Bridge-the-gap alimony — the support is granted for a period of two years so the spouse can establish independence and adjust from married life to single life
- Durational alimony – intended for “economic assistance” for a specific period of time, not to exceed the length of the marriage, but can be for a shorter period of time.
- Permanent alimony — until death or remarriage to meet the needs and necessities of life as established during the marriage.
- Lump sum alimony — in special circumstances cases such as a spouse with special needs
Will alimony be awarded in your divorce? We will give you an honest legal opinion, and vigorously state your case to the judge, but ultimately the court decides unless the parties otherwise agree. For more information, schedule a consultation at our Fort Lauderdale office. Call (954) 953-2575.