FAQ On Alimony
Will I get alimony?
The answer depends on a number of factors, all set out in the article. One of the most important issues is whether you need alimony. This needs to be proven to the satisfaction of the judge in your case. We have many legal strategies to use to ensure that you can document why, and in what amount, you need alimony from your spouse. Another important issue is how long you have been married. There are several types of alimony. While temporary alimony is available regardless of how long you were married, other types of alimony are more likely the longer you were married, and less likely if your marriage was shorter in length. Other important factors include how much you earn, how much your spouse earns, what your educational level is, what your ex’s educational level is, if you have any physical disabilities, your age, and your spouse’s age. It is a complex issue that we can assist you with.
How can I get alimony?
To get alimony, you usually need to file for divorce. And you need to specifically request alimony in your divorce papers. To get a hearing on your alimony request, you must first have a mediation conference in your case. It can be very complicated. If you need alimony, you owe it to yourself to have a Board Certified divorce attorney expert assist you with the sometimes confusing legal process.
What is alimony?
Alimony is sometimes called spousal support. It is a payment from one ex spouse to the other ex spouse and it is designed to help equalize the standards of living post-divorce. It can come in one of several forms. It can be a monthly payment, or it can be in a lump sum.
What is spousal support?
Spousal support in Florida is another word for alimony.
Are alimony and spousal support different?
No, they are two terms for the same thing.
Will I have to pay alimony?
That is a simple question with a complex answer. It depends on a number of factors, including whether your ex really needs alimony. We have a number of techniques we use during the case to try and minimize the chances you will have to pay alimony, and if you do have to pay it, that it is in the smallest amount possible and for the least amount of time. Have you ever heard the term “garbage in, garbage out”? That’s an old computer term, but it applies here. If your ex is gaming the system and using false information about their expenses and income, we can demonstrate that to the judge
How to avoid paying alimony?
If your spouse is requesting it in the divorce, then it is on the table and you’re going to have to deal with it as one of the issues in the case. You avoid paying it by demonstrating in court, using evidence, that your spouse is not entitled to alimony. That can take quite a bit of legal strategy and skill. It’s not something we can answer here for you, because every case is different. If you are facing an alimony claim from your spouse, we can help.
Is there an online alimony calculator?
Unlike child support, there is no scientific formula or calculator that can request certain information and then calculate how much the monthly alimony payment will be in any given case. Part of the problem is that if you had the same exact circumstances and the same two spouses, you could get different alimony results from different judges in different courtrooms. How can that be? It is because alimony can be a huge gray area. Legalese says it is within the broad discretion of the trial court. Your judge will get to decide what they think is right and fair, within the factors that are discussed in the main article (length of marriage, need and ability to pay, standard of living, and the like). Because alimony can be a very important part of your case, and because it is especially difficult for non-lawyers to predict, we recommend you have an experienced divorce lawyer on your side. It is an investment, and not an expense, to have quality legal representation. We have options for every budget.
How much alimony will I get?
Like we just discussed, there is no specific formula for alimony. Outside of factors such as the length of the marriage, it will depend in large part of what your needs are and what your ex is able to pay. Note we said “able to pay” and not “willing to pay.” There is a difference. We can employ a number of tried and true strategies during the case to maximize the chances you are awarded alimony in an amount that will be significant in your life. Conversely, if you think your ex may be seeking alimony from you, we can use strategies to try and minimize the impact of the alimony claim.
What if my spouse is lying about how much they make?
As you know from reading this website, how much money your spouse makes is an important consideration regarding alimony. If your spouse is seeking alimony from you, and if they are underestimating how much they earn, then we can use a number of methods to prove how much they really are earning. If they are underemployed or unemployed, we will ask the judge to impute income to them. This means we will ask for the judge, for alimony calculation purposes, to assign them an income as if they were working in their field at an appropriate pay rate. Imputing income requires testimony about your ex’s past job history, and many times requires expert witness testimony. If you are seeking alimony from your spouse, and your spouse is underestimating how much they earn, we can use the same techniques to help prove they are really earning more than they have stated. Many people conveniently forget to include bonuses, overtime, side jobs, investment income, and gift income when disclosing their income in court. We can help make sure that we keep your spouse honest.
What if my spouse is lying about their expenses?
We see this happen often. Spouses can lie about their expenses to attempt to alter whether or not there is alimony, and in what amount. If your spouse is seeking alimony from you, they may artificially overestimate their expenses in an effort to show they need alimony from you. We have seen spouses claim the full rent when they have a roommate, overestimate their insurance costs, fudge numbers regarding gasoline and auto repairs, and double count how much they pay for certain monthly expenses. We can help you get to the bottom of what may appear to be fishy numbers. Conversely, if you are seeking alimony from your spouse, your ex may overstate their expenses in an effort to prove they cannot afford to pay you alimony. We have many techniques to cut right through those bogus expenses. Remember, every dollar in bogus expenses could be an additional dollar that could be used to pay you alimony each month. Imagine if there were hundreds or even thousands of dollars in inflated expenses. We have seen that happen often, and we can help you achieve a fair outcome in court.
Alimony isn’t fair!
We hear you. If you are the spouse who would potentially be paying alimony, it certainly can appear to be unfair. And many times it is not fair. Remember, it is a courthouse and not a “fair house.” So how do you fight back? You document everything, you review and challenge everything thrown at you by your spouse, and if at all possible you have an experienced Board Certified divorce attorney at your side.
How to Change My Alimony? Or, Can I get more alimony?
In many cases, after your case is concluded alimony may be modified. If you are the one paying alimony and you suffer a job loss, you would want to decrease or suspend your alimony payments. If you are receiving alimony, if you have additional support needs, and if your ex spouse is well-able to contribute to them, you would want to increase your alimony award. Whether it can or cannot be modified depends on your circumstances and on what your settlement documents and/or final judgment say about the issue. Remember, these may be written in legalese. We speak legalese. Let us help.
What can I do if I’m not getting my alimony?
If your ex has stopped paying the alimony they are court-ordered to pay, or if they are paying you a lesser amount, you can take them back to court. When you go back to court, you can ask for the past-due amount (plus interest!), future ongoing payments, and reimbursement of your court costs and attorney’s fees. Plus, if they still don’t comply, the judge can put them in jail until they do comply.
I can’t afford to keep paying alimony!
If you cannot afford to keep paying alimony, you should proactively seek a modification from the court. If you simply stop paying, or if you pay less than you should pay, then your ex will most likely file contempt charges against you. The judge has legal authority to put you in jail until you make things right financially with your ex, including interest and including paying your ex’s attorney’s fees. If you don’t like the idea of paying your ex, then paying you ex’s attorney would be even worse! Seriously, the judge will take a lot more kindly to you if you proactively try to address the situation in court rather than simply making your own rules. We can help you out.
What are some examples of things that a Judge would look at to determine if I am to pay or receive alimony?
The Courts consider the length of the marriage, the needs of the spouse requesting alimony, the ability of the other spouse to pay and each spouse’s earnings, earning capability, health, education, and other factors.
Why do I have to give my ex any money?
You only have to pay alimony if you agree to do so, or if you are ordered to do so by a Judge. If you are looking to win on the alimony issue you should have an experienced attorney assist you in the case.
Do I have to pay alimony if I have only been married for less than 2 years?
The likelihood of paying long-term alimony is small, but your spouse could request temporary alimony regardless of the length of the marriage.
What if my spouse and I both completed college and we both make the same amount of money.
Who would pay alimony?
While it is not a guarantee, spouses with similar educations, earnings and earning capabilities may not have any alimony awarded in the case.
If I have custody of our children, is it possible I could still have to pay alimony to my ex?
Yes, it is possible. Timesharing is not a factor the court will consider when it comes to a determination of alimony
Can my spouse or I seek alimony after a divorce has been finalized?
No, if you didn’t request alimony in the original case and the case is now over, you most likely have forever waived your ability to seek alimony.