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Interest on Retirement Accounts Utilized for the Payment of Alimony

All income available to the recipient of alimony should be taken into consideration prior to the court assessing the amount of alimony to be paid.

Income from all sources reduce the “needs” of the spouse who is claiming alimony from the other party.  “Needs versus ability to pay” is the general standard utilized by the courts in determining alimony awards.  The importance of examining all sources of income available to the recipient of alimony cannot be understated.

Interest earned on 401(k) retirement accounts should be considered as income available to the spouse even though the spouse is not able to draw on the income until he or she reaches the age of 65.  Niederman v. Niederman, 6o So3rd 544 (Florida 4th DCA 2011)  stands for that very principle.  This is true regardless of whether the recipient of the alimony award has attained the age at which funds may be withdrawn without penalty.

Income is defined under Florida law, Section 61.046(8), Florida Statutes.  Income includes retirement benefits, pensions, dividends, and interest.

A court abuses its discretion in not considering interest income earned from retirement accounts in determining the income of the spouse who was seeking alimony.

Alimony can be a contentious issue in a divorce case.  It is important to have all relevant information regarding alimony at your disposal.  Experienced and seasoned Boca Raton divorce attorney Alan R. Burton has the experience to fight for your all of your rights, whether they affect alimony claims, equitable distribution, child support or time sharing.  Call Alan R. Burton today at 954-295-9222 for a free consultation.

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