Over the past couple years, the concept of alimony has changed and evolved as a result of recent appellate decisions in Florida. Many women who hire an attorney and file for divorce in Fort Lauderdale are now employed, self supporting and earning comparable pay as to their husband. In addition, the average length of a marriage has decreased. Accordingly, the amount of cases in which Broward divorce lawyers have permanent alimony awarded to their client has decreased. Also, the amount and duration of alimony has also been reduced.
The Florida legislature amended Florida Statute 61.14 to permit a payor spouse to seek to reduce or eliminate his or her alimony obligation when their former spouse is in a supportive relationship while remaining unmarried. The court will look at many different factors such as how long the recipient has resided with another person, whether they have pooled their assets or income and the extent to which the recipient has supported the other and whether or not they have jointly acquired any assets or property.
Alimony is based upon the need of one spouse for alimony and the other spouse’s ability to pay. However, the days of focusing on the standard of living that the parties have been accustomed to during the course of the intact marriage is not as significant. In the past, a divorce attorney in Broward would hire a forensic accountant to perform a lifestyle analysis. The forensic accountant would analyze tax returns, bank statements, check registers and credit card statements to ascertain a spouse’s needs, the other spouse’s ability to pay and the historical spending during the marriage. However, gone are the days that a spouse receives alimony which comprises of all of the luxuries accustomed to during the marriage including, but not limited to, spa visits, country club memberships, vacations and clothing allowances.
The Fourth District Court of Appeal, which handles divorce, child support and other marital and family appeals filed by attorneys in Broward and Boca Raton now believes that when there is a high standard of living during a marriage, the purpose of alimony is to provide for the impecunious spouse above the bare subsistence levels, but not to fund every little luxury enjoyed before your Ft. Lauderdale divorce. Marital and family attorneys now have a difficult time including “unnecessary personal expenses” such as computer supplies, gifts and country club memberships as part of a recipient spouse’s need for bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative or permanent alimony.
While the importance of many of the statutory criteria to award alimony has now changed, alimony has not been eliminated. If you are going through a divorce in Broward and reside in Coral Springs, Davie, Margate, Miramar or Southwest Ranches, you should speak to a Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer to determine your entitlement to alimony.