When you’re facing a divorce in Florida, money is a primary concern. Even after the assets of two people are divided, one spouse might be required to pay the other on an ongoing basis. This ongoing monthly payment is called alimony. Florida State Statutes explain in detail the legality of alimony awards. The calculator below is designed to give you an estimate of how much alimony you may be required to pay. If you would like a more in depth alimony consultation, please contact us.
Alimony Calculation Factors
In order to calculate the correct alimony on a case by case basis, the court will look at the monthly income compared to the expenses of the party requesting alimony to determine if there are insufficient funds to meet their needs.
If the court finds that one party has a need for alimony and that the other party is able to pay it, then the court will determine which type and amount of alimony they will receive. There are several factors that help determine the best suited alimony for each person.
Factors Determining Alimony Eligibility
- Standard of living established during marriage
- Duration of marriage
- Current age of each person
- Physical and emotional condition of each person
- Financial resources of each party, including nonmarital and marital assets and liabilities
- Earning capacities, education level and vocational skills of both parties
- Time necessary for either person to acquire sufficient education or training to be able to find appropriate employment if necessary
- Time spent out of the job market
- Tax consequences related to alimony
- All sources of income for each person
- The number and ages of any children
The court may order the person that is paying the alimony to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy to secure the alimony award. This will be determined after the type of alimony is decided on, and if the court finds it necessary.
Types of Alimony
There are five types of alimony available in Florida: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, permanent and pendente lite .
Bridge-the-gap is the only type of alimony that cannot be modified. Rehabilitative and permanent alimony may be modified based on substantial circumstances such as change in income or employment and health related issues. The amount of durational alimony may be modified, but the length cannot be changed except under exceptional circumstances related to a serious illness or injury or other cause for inability to make payments.
Pendente lite alimony can be awarded prior to the final divorce judgement. This is used to ensure the dependent spouse can maintain the established lifestyle until the divorce is final. It can be used to pay your mortgage, phone services, home maintenance and other needs.
For any alimony award, the payments will terminate upon death of either party or the remarriage of the person that was receiving the alimony. The award of the permanent alimony cannot leave the payor with significantly less net income than the recipient’s net income. If there is a need to adjust your alimony award, you will have to file a petition to have it changed.
There are several circumstances that will make you eligible for modifying your alimony:
- Substantial, permanent change in one spouse’s income
- Loss of a child
Length of Marriage
The number of years you are married will determine what type of alimony the court will grant you and for how long. The length of marriage is calculated from the date your marriage was made legal to when the filing of divorce papers was approved. These lengths are all determined by the state of Florida.
- Short-term marriage is lasting less than 7 years. They are eligible for durational, bridge-the-gap and rehabilitative alimony. The court would have to make written findings of exceptional circumstances, such as the ones listed above, to be granted permanent alimony.
- Moderate-term marriage is between 7 and 17 years. These marriages are awarded the same options as a short-term marriage. Permanent alimony may be considered if there is convincing evidence of the need for it.
- Long-term marriage is considered to be longer than 17 years. All types of alimony may be available, after the court has considered all of the alimony factors.
The income that you use in your calculation factors will help determine the correct amount of alimony that you may owe or receive. In order to get an accurate estimate when calculating your income:
- Use net income instead of gross income
- Include retirement benefits, pensions, dividends and interest
- If no income is indicated, the court must find that unemployment is voluntary or find that a spouse is voluntarily earning less to avoid working or making alimony payments
- If a spouse if unemployed to seek education to enhance their job seeking efforts, the court will determine if this is in the best interest for supporting the alimony payments
How Alimony May Affect Taxes
For the most part, alimony is tax deductible for the party that is paying and it is taxable for the party receiving the income. Alimony must be paid with an agreement or divorce decree to be tax deductible. Temporary alimony that is not in writing or approved by the court may not be tax deductible.
Parties are not allowed to file joint tax returns for the year they are claiming the alimony to be tax deductible, and the parties must reside at separate addresses.
If you are receiving alimony, you will need to consider your net income after your taxes so that alimony is calculated correctly to help offset a deficit in your finances. Alimony will be considered as taxable income to you. You will be responsible to pay any tax obligation at the end of the year. It may be a good idea to increase the withholdings from your employment paycheck to help with taxes.
Child Support Payments with Alimony
A high alimony payment may reduce the amount of child support needed, but it will be based on several different factors determined by the court. It is important that the start and end dates for paying alimony do not associate with any payments for the children. The IRS may consider these payments as child support instead. Either spouse can apply for child support before or after requesting alimony from the same person, as long as the court is aware of both transactions.
If you have questions or require additional information about the intricacies of alimony awards and payments, check out our Alimony page. Or, if you’d like to get in touch with us right away, feel free to call 813-930-5542 or fill out the form in the sidebar and we’ll respond as quickly as possible.