Court Decisions About Spousal Support in Florida: Landmark Cases
Bitter disputes over alimony make for great tabloid headlines to keep you entertained while waiting in the checkout line in the supermarket, but they are not the norm in divorce cases. You might not need to pay any alimony at all. If you and your ex-spouse are both employed and you have minor children, the court might order you to pay child support but not alimony. There is a lot more to alimony laws in Florida than what you see in the movies or in the tabloid press. For questions about how much alimony it is fair for you to pay or receive after your divorce, contact a South Florida alimony lawyer.
How Florida Courts Determine the Amount and Duration of Alimony
If you divorce in Florida, the court might order you to pay any of six types of alimony, or none at all. Family courts consider the following factors when making decisions about alimony:
- The length of the marriage
- The net worth of each spouse’s assets, after the marital property has been divided
- The future income earning potential of each spouse, based on age, health, and prior work experience
Famous Alimony Disputes from Florida Case Law
These legal disputes illustrate the ways in which Florida courts determine alimony arrangements:
- Hua v. Tsung – Nancy Hua divorced Dennis Tsung after 17 years of marriage, during which she was a stay-at-home parent. She requested permanent alimony, on the basis of the length of the marriage and her long absence from the workforce. The court instead ordered Dennis to pay for Nancy to attend nursing school and to stop paying alimony when she graduated. Nancy was healthy and in her forties, and the court reasoned that, if she worked as a nurse until age 65, she would be able to retire comfortably.
- Koscher v. Koscher – Permanent alimony was the only option, because the couple were married for 30 years, and the wife had a disability that prevented her from working. Four years before the divorce, the husband was laid off from his job. Instead of taking another salaried job, he had been trying to start a business, but it had yet to become profitable. At the wife’s request, the court calculated the alimony based on the income the husband would have had if he had worked at a salaried position.
- Dickson v. Dickson – The couple divorced after 19 years of marriage. The court awarded the wife permanent alimony, even though she was working. Because the couple’s three children had special needs, the wife would need to limit her work hours to care for them, making her need alimony to supplement her income for the foreseeable future.
Let Us Help You Today
The alimony guidelines are only guidelines; the individual circumstances of your divorce may require the court to make an exception to them. A Boca Raton alimony attorney can help your family arrive at the alimony agreement that is right for you. Contact Schwartz | White about your alimony case.