What Does a Judge Look at When Deciding Alimony?

Alimony, or spousal support, is an aspect of law dealing with preventing unfair economic effects following a Florida divorce. Essentially, it prevents individuals who have lived a certain way for years during a marriage (or who gave up a career for the purposes of child-rearing) from being left high-and-dry with limited income and overwhelming bills once they’re single again.

Different types of Florida alimony

lone-wedding-ringWhen it comes to family courts approving alimony, there are a few different types, determined by the family situation:

  • Temporary alimony – This is used during divorce proceedings themselves, and only when one spouse is in need of financial support while in the process of filing. Once the divorce is finalized, support stops.
  • Rehabilitative alimony – This is a time-sensitive plan used specifically for acquiring training or education, wherein one partner will submit a detailed outline covering how long they need support for, and the amount of money the education/training will require.
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony – An extremely short-term form of alimony (max 2 years), this is usually used as a form of support during temporary financial hardship following divorce. For example, if the individual is attempting to sell property (houses, vehicles, etc.), this can be used to cover living expenses until the sale is finalized.
  • Permanent alimony – This one requires judges to prove that one spouse will likely be unable to become self-supporting in the future, but in cases where one spouse’s current economic situation is likely to be permanent, it is useful.
  • Durational alimony – This is generally only used when other forms of alimony do not apply, but there is still need for spousal support. The reason it’s called durational is because the term is it valid for can be no longer than the length of the marriage up to the point of divorce.

Factors in alimony amount

Once the court has determined the type of spousal support that is appropriate, it then comes down to determining the amount. There are myriad factors that come into play here, but some of the common ones include:

  • Each spouse’s age, and physical/emotional condition
  • Sources of income available to each spouse compared to living costs
  • Each spouse’s potential earning capacity, including employment history, education, vocational skills, etc.
  • Current marital standard of living
  • How long the marriage was
  • How much each spouse contributed to homemaking, child care, and supporting the other spouse during education/career-building
  • Whether adultery was present in the marriage

This list is nowhere near exhaustive, but it gives you a few ideas of criteria that judges will consider when determining alimony amounts. If you are facing alimony currently, or are considering alimony in regards to a pending divorce, do not hesitate to get in touch with a divorce attorney immediately.