Will I owe alimony? This is a question on the mind of many people who are considering making the decision to move forward with a divorce. Today, I had a call from a man who has been married for 20 years in a very unhappy marriage. Can he afford a divorce? That was his question. My answer was, the decision to get divorced or not, is not really a financial question.
At this point in time there are no set specific rules for an award of alimony in Florida. Frequently, I get calls from client and hear things like - there is no alimony if we have only been married for 3 years. Or, we have been married 9 years, if we don't get divorced now I will have to pay alimony. Neither of these statements is true. Of all of the areas of family law or divorce law, alimony is the most fact specific and the area that MOST requires a knowledgeable attorney to assess your case. To begin with, there are multiple types of alimony in Florida and each one is for a different purpose and would be applicable under different circumstances. The basic question in all alimony cases is does one party have an ability to pay alimony and does the other party have a need for alimony. Alimony, in general, is intended to help put people on somewhat equal footing. VERY generally speaking, alimony awards can be from 0% of the payor's income to 50% or more of their income depending on the facts. Many types of alimony are modifiable after they are entered in a divorce upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstance, some types of alimony are not modifiable. Alimony is typically taxable as income to the recipient and tax deductible for the payor. In brief, the types of alimony are: