Although there have been several recent attempts to abolish permanent alimony in Florida, all those recent attempts have failed. Permanent alimony is still alive and well in the State of Florida.
So what does this mean to you, either as a potential recipient, or as a potential payor of alimony? Permanent alimony is generally, as a rule, reserved for those cases in which the marriage has lasted at least 17 years. Once that 17 year threshold is met, the potential for either paying or receiving permanent alimony is quite real.
An award of permanent alimony is not however, based solely upon the years of marriage between the parties. The court is still required, and is mandated by Florida Statute 61.08 to consider the 10 factors listed in that statute regarding the award of alimony.
If the trial judge’s fails to make specific written findings as to each and every single factor regarding the award of alimony, the final judgment is subject to being reversed, and remanded back to the trial court for further findings.
The importance of filing a detailed and accurate financial affidavit in a family law case cannot be understated, which is especially true when you are dealing with the prospect of paying or receiving alimony.
Alimony is based on the reasonable needs of the party making the request, versus the financial ability of the other party to meet those reasonable needs. For example, if a spouse is financially self-sufficient, there may not be a need for alimony, thereby relieving the other spouse of that financial obligation.
However, if the need does in fact exist it may be minimized by the other party’s efforts to impute a higher level of income to the party who is making the claim for an award of alimony. Imputation of income means that a party is earning a level of income below which they are capable of earning, and the court therefore has the right to impute, or assign a higher level of income to that spouse.
The imputation of income would obviously reduce the financial exposure on the part of the other spouse who may be required to pay alimony.
The imputation of income generally requires evidence as to the employability and potential jobs available to the spouse seeking alimony. This would be based on the education and skills of the spouse seeking alimony. Imputing income is not as simple as it may sound, since evidence of employment, consistent with the spouse’s education and training, must be established.
When alimony cases have the potential for substantial monthly amounts and for extended periods of time, it may be advisable to seek the assistance of a vocational evaluation expert.
If you would like to obtain additional information regarding the current law of alimony in Florida, please feel free to contact Alan R. Burton, marital and family law attorney in Boca Raton, Florida. He would be more than happy to speak with you and address any specific issues or concerns you may have regarding your particular situation. He can be reached at 954-295-9222. Call him today!