Factors considered when a judge sets alimony
Once the court has determined there is a need for alimony by the recipient and ability to pay said alimony, the court then should consider the factors as laid out as follows:
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
- The financial resources of each party, including the non-marital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, childcare, education, and career building of the other party.
- The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
- The tax treatment and consequence to both parties of any alimony award.
- All source of income available to either party.
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
Interestingly enough, Florida statute provides “the court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstance thereof” in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. However case law has made it clear that in order for the court to consider alimony it generally must have resulted in a depletion of marital assets. Without a showing of this financial fault, the courts usually do not entertain adultery as a significant factor.
Keep in mind that if one waives alimony at the time of the divorce that can never be modified. Once waived, it is always waived. The parties can also enter into an agreement that the award of alimony not be modifiable. This is very dangerous and should rarely be used by either party.
Some take-aways about alimony to keep in mind:
- Alimony requires a showing of need of the recipient spouse and the ability to pay by the paying spouse.
- There are four difference types of periodic alimony available based upon the circumstances of the parties.
- Adultery is only considered if it has resulted in a depletion of marital assets.