Being financially secure is one of the main concerns when pursuing a divorce in Florida. If you and your spouse shared certain assets and liabilities for a certain period of time, it may be overwhelming to consider what your financial status will look like after a divorce. This financial uncertainty commonly results in spouses considering whether they are entitled to receive spousal support, also known as alimony.
In Florida, there is no specific formula by which spousal support is calculated as with child support. Rather, the court must first determine whether there is a need and an ability to pay. This standard is rather ambiguous and showing a need for spousal support can be a complicated process. Notwithstanding, the first and most important step is to complete a financial affidavit, which lists all of your monthly expenses, income, liabilities and assets. Each party must individually provide for this information and attest to its accuracy within forty five days of service of the initial petition for dissolution. It is important that you keep this information current during your divorce proceeding, as you may find out that your needs have changed as you contemplate the additional expenses and loss of potential income that comes with a divorce.
Overall, the need for spousal support is typically found when there is a deficit between the income of a spouse and the expenses. The larger this deficit, the more likely you have a case for spousal support. However, you must establish that the other spouse can support this need. If their financial affidavit is complete, you can analyze it to determine whether there is a deficit or surplus. If there is a surplus, then you would likely meet the threshold of need and ability to pay.
Regardless of whether a financial affidavit demonstrates a surplus or deficit, the court is afforded broad discretion when ascertaining the needs and ability to pay of each partner. For example, evidence of infidelity, age of each party, length of the marriage, health of each party, earning capacity and income of each partner, standard of living established during the marriage, and contribution to the marriage are all relevant when determining spousal support.
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