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How is alimony determined in Florida?

Although we often talk about specific cases of divorce, it's also important to discuss the actual laws behind the process. One issue that Florida residents are often curious about is alimony (or spousal support). Many questions may arise, such as "Do I have to pay it?" or "How much will I get?"

In our state, alimony is decided after the property division part of divorce has been determined. When everything is divided, the court will decide whether alimony should be paid, how much should be paid and whom the payer will be. Although some may think that the wife is the one who gets spousal support, it can be either spouse. It all depends on a variety of factors.

A court will take many factors into consideration, including the age of the individuals, their emotional and physical health, the length of the marriage, the standard of living they had prior to divorce, and each individual’s income-earning capacity. They will also take into consideration the income-producing capacity of any assets the individuals get, as well as any time that is needed for either individual to get educated in order to be adequately employed. Finally, they will also look at services provided in terms of child rearing, homemaking and education support by either spouse. It’s also important to take into consideration the fact that even though Florida is a no-fault state, a spouse’s fault may be taken into consideration when considering alimony.

While the court may make this determination, spouses may also make an alimony agreement among themselves. If that is the case, it is important to work with a lawyer to make sure the agreement is officially made a part of the court’s order.

Source: FindLaw, “Florida Spousal Support or Alimony Laws,” accessed July 30, 2014

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