When handling issues such as
alimony, each state has different statutes and laws. How your state deals with
these issues can positively or adversely affect you; and understanding
the laws in your state can help you get the best out of your divorce.
Basics of Alimony
In Florida, a court can order one of five types of
alimony, including: temporary alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative
alimony, durational alimony, and permanent alimony. The court looks at
the needs of the party asking to receive alimony and the ability to pay
of the second party. If the court decides there is both a need for alimony
and the ability to pay, then the court looks at several factors in ordering
- What the resources are of the spouse seeking alimony, including financial
resources, separate property, and an award of marital property;
- Income for both spouses including investment income for either party;
- The earning capacity of both spouses, such as educational history, vocational
skills, and/or employability;
- The time and expense of the party seeking alimony to obtain an education
or training for employment;
- The standard of living during the marriage;
- How long the marriage lasted;
- The age, physical, and emotional condition of each spouse;
- The contribution of each spouse during the marriage to homemaking, child
care, education, and helping the other spouse to build his/her career;
- Tax consequences; and
- Responsibilities to minor children shared by the parties.
Additionally, in Florida the court can look at whether there was adultery
committed during the marriage. The court can use the circumstances of
the divorce to then decide if alimony is necessary.
In most states, benefits received from one party due to military service
do not get calculated into income for the purposes of alimony. This is
because most states feel that if one party receives veterans' benefits,
it is because of his or her service to the country. Thus, the other party
should not be able to receive these benefits just because he or she was
married to a veteran, especially if the spouse was not married to the
veteran during military service.
In Florida though, the court does not separate veterans' benefits from
the income of the party paying support. This means that when deciding
how much alimony a veteran has to pay, the court counts veterans'
benefits as income, and the court may order the veteran to pay a portion
of his/her benefits to his/her ex-spouse.
One Veteran's Perspective
veteran in Charlotte County, Florida took issue with paying a part of his benefits
to his ex-spouse. Terry Lynn is receiving disability benefits from the
military due to being injured during the Gulf War. Mr. Lynn's ex-wife
is requesting half of this payment in alimony, even though Mr. Lynn purchased
a house for his ex in the divorce settlement. The court did not consider
this purchase enough and when Mr. Lynn refused to pay his alimony, the
court ordered Mr. Lynn to jail. Mr. Lynn states that he is taking a stand
against Florida's alimony law.
When going through a divorce, there are many laws on different topics,
which can be difficult to understand. The experienced
South Florida divorce attorneys at Hager, Schwartz & Ross, P.A. in Miami can help you understand the
issues and law surrounding a divorce, including alimony payments and veterans'
Contact us today for a consultation.