Alimony in Florida can be confusing because there is no formula. Because we don’t have an alimony formula, alimony amounts depend upon the specifics of each case and each family. Have you heard or read that you are entitled to a certain amount of alimony based upon your spouse’s income? The problem is there is no law to support it!
This episode will help you understand how alimony works in Florida so that you can have a better idea of what alimony might be in your divorce.
So many people I talk to every day want to know how alimony works in Florida. Welcome, everybody. I’m A.J. Grossman, Divorce Lawyer, Florida Supreme Court certified family mediator and dispute resolution specialist with Leap Frog Divorce.
So how does alimony work in Florida? Seems like everybody wants to know. Well, I’ll start by telling you that we have what’s called a statute. It’s a law. And that law gives our judges and those of us who are lawyers, as well as the public, pretty clear direction on how alimony works. I’ll try and keep it as simple as possible and not use any lawyer ease and certainly no Latin. All right.
So really, there are two basic considerations when it comes to alimony and divorce. And the first one is, does one of the spouses the husband or the wife have an actual need for financial support from the other spouse? If there is no need, then there shouldn’t be any alimony.
A lot of people, professionals included, professionals who work in the divorce industry are under I think a mistaken assumption that the purpose of alimony is to equalize the incomes. So for example, if the husband makes $100,000 a year and the wife makes $50,000 a year, then the husband should give the wife $25,000 from his income so that they both have $75,000 a year worth of income. That’s not the purpose of alimony.
Alimony was never designed simply to equalize the incomes of people going through a divorce. Okay, so again, if there’s no need for financial support for a spouse, then there shouldn’t be any alimony. If there is a need if there’s a demonstrated need, in other words, either the husband or the wife has a shortfall of cash at the end of every month. In other words, there’s just not enough money to pay the bills to pay the mortgage or the rent, the utilities, the water, food, you name it. Okay, so if there actually is a need, then the next question is, does the other spouse have an ability to provide financial support to the other spouse?
If the other spouse doesn’t have the ability to give money to the other spouse who says they need the alimony, then there will be no alimony. Sometimes what will happen is a couple might agree to what’s called nominal alimony, which is another way of saying $1 of alimony. Sometimes, our judges will award nominal alimony again nominal alimony being $1. So that in the future if things change, that alimony can be modified or changed in the future. And so those are the two very basic considerations: the need of a spouse, and the ability of the other spouse to provide financial support.
Beyond that, there’s a whole list of factors that our judges consider. I’ll name some of them, certainly not all, there are too many to list in one video. But one of them is the physical and mental condition of the spouses. Another one is the contributions during the marriage to the marriage. So for example, husbands or wives, fathers or mothers who give up a career to stay home with young children to raise those children are going to get some credit for their contribution to the marriage. That’s very, very important. One thing I’ve certainly come to learn through my over a decade of helping people get divorced is that being a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job and then some. And if you’re a full-time stay-at-home parent and working a part-time job, my goodness, that’s an incredible amount of contribution to your marriage. And there’s a lot of value to that and sometimes the working spouse who’s not staying at home forgets about that and doesn’t see the value. And that’s unfortunate.
Another one is, you know, their ability the spouse who needs it their ability to support themselves. Are they going to be able at some point in the future to support themselves? Do they need some education? Do they need to brush up on skills in order to get a job and be able to support themselves? And so like I said, there’s a long list of factors for judges to consider.
It’s in our Florida laws, our Florida Statutes, but really for those of you who are not divorce lawyers, who are not judges, really what you should be thinking about is, does one of us have a need for financial support? And does that other person have the ability to provide it? And use that as your compass or your guiding light.
Oh, one other thing before I finish this video, there’s a myth out there that in Florida, there is a standard alimony amount. There is no such thing. I’ve had my colleagues, I’ve had some of my colleagues, other divorce lawyers say to me in the middle of a case, well, the standard alimony applies.
There is no standard.
You might hear percentages of income, like 20%, 25%, 30%, 35% of the person who’s going to be paying the alimony, 25% or 30% of their income should be the alimony amount. That is not a standard. I will share with you that many of the cases that have been appealed. They’ve gone from our state trial courts, up to our state appellate courts regarding alimony issues, and typically see alimony falling somewhere between 20% and 40%. But really, it’s individual to each family in each situation.
And if you ask one of our judges, how much should alimony be? They’re likely going to say, well it depends. It depends on the family situation and the family financial situation. And so I wanted to make sure that I got that in that there really is no standard alimony. We don’t have any alimony formula in Florida like we do for child support.
Anyway, this video is getting too long, so I’m going to end it here. Thank you so much for watching. I hope you found it helpful. If you did, please consider liking it and subscribing to my channel. I’m releasing new videos all the time. Again, I’m A.J. Grossman with Leap Frog Divorce. Have a wonderful day and be well.