Alimony or spousal maintenance payments in a Florida divorce may not be as straightforward as they first appear. Determining the type of alimony and when it should begin must be calculated accurately for the benefit of both parties. In some instances, a judge may get it wrong. He or she may fail to consider an important factor in the case or err in the start date—both of which can result in an equitable burden on one spouse.
Types of Alimony and Factors
The law in Florida allows several different types of alimony: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent. There are several factors that go into making the alimony calculation by the judge. The court will consider factors such as these when determining the type and amount of the alimony award:
- The couple’s prior standard of living.
- The length of the marriage.
- The age and physical and emotional condition of both spouses.
- The financial resources of each spouse and income-producing capacity of the assets they receive.
- The time needed to acquire sufficient education or training to find appropriate employment.
- The services rendered in homemaking, child-rearing and the education and career-building of the other spouse.
A judge in Florida may consider any other factor the he or she believes is necessary to do equity and justice between the spouses.
Credit for Temporary Alimony Payments
The District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach recently heard the case of a father who claimed that a trial judge didn’t award him credits for temporary alimony payments.
Matthew Wayne contested the final judgment for dissolution of his marriage to his former wife, Susan. Among the many issues he raised on appeal, Wayne said that the trial court erred in failing to credit him for temporary alimony payments made to Susan between August 2011 and April 2013.
Citing Serbousek v. Lucas (Fla. 5th DCA 2016), the Court held that the case should be remanded for further consideration of the issue, where “Former Husband paid some temporary support during the pendency of the dissolution,” but the trial court made no findings on the issue.
Here the record was likewise unclear as to months in which Wayne made alimony payments during the time in question.
As a result, the District Court of Appeals reversed and remanded on this issue, ordering the trial court to determine how many payments were made and the total amount of credits due to Wayne. Wayne v. Einspar, Case No. 5D15-3392 (5th DCA April 21, 2017)
Make sure that the alimony you are paying or receiving is calculated accurately. Call DeVoe Law Firm for a free consultation. Get help from an experienced Florida family law attorney.