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Alimony & Spousal Support

Orlando, Florida Alimony and Support Lawyer

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Alimony (spousal support) is not automatically assigned in divorce cases. Typically, alimony is included in a divorce settlement when a significant difference exists between the income and earning potential of a husband and wife. In this sense, alimony functions to ensure both parties are able to maintain a certain standard of living after the dissolution of their marriage. The court has an interest in making sure neither party ends up facing impoverishment. As such, alimony is not punitive; it is not intended to punish the spouse who must pay it and reward the spouse who receives it.

At the law office of Kenneth D. Morse, we explain and discuss the factors and issues involved in determining alimony, and prepare documentation for the court in relation to our client's need for alimony or obligation to pay spousal support.

Regardless of whether you expect to receive alimony or pay it, it's crucial that you understand your rights in a divorce and assert them. To schedule an appointment and learn how we can help you, contact alimony attorney Kenneth D. Morse today.

Different Kinds of Alimony

Depending on the situation of each spouse, the family court will determine how long alimony should be in effect and how much should be paid. In general, the following kinds of alimony arrangements are possible in Florida:

  • Permanent alimony: Permanent alimony is presumed in long-term marriages and is based on eight factors in Florida Statues, including ability to pay, financial need, each spouse's contributions during the marriage, and capacity for self-support.
  • Lump sum alimony: This type of alimony is a certain dollar amount of support which can be paid in a lump sum or in payments. Typically, lump sum alimony can't be changed (non-modifiable) and is only awarded in special circumstances such as no children, substantial assets, and no further reason for the parties to have a continuing relationship.
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony: This type of alimony is relatively new in Florida and is meant to ease the transition of one spouse from married status to single status. The amount is determined taking into consideration the needs of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay alimony.
  • Temporary alimony: If one spouse in a marriage is unable to support themselves prior to the final settlement of a divorce, alimony may be assigned in order to ensure they have the means to support themselves.

Determining How Much Alimony is Involved

In order to determine spousal support, the court evaluates the employment history, financial situation, health, and education background of each spouse. The court will also evaluate if one spouse sacrificed a career to stay at home or put the other spouse through school. As your attorney, Kenneth D. Morse ensures the terms of your spousal support aren't unduly prejudiced against you.

THE FLORIDA LAWS HAVE CHANGED AGAIN!

New Florida law codifies all forms of alimony; and more specifically defines bridge-the-gap durational, rehabilitative, permanent alimony; allow an award of a combination of alimony. These changes apply to all initial awards of alimony entered after July 1, 2010, and modifications of such awards. The new laws DO NOT apply to alimony awards prior to that date and are not a basis to modify awards entered before July 1, 2010.

New factors to determine alimony are:

(1) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.

(2) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.

(3) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.

Statutory Presumptions are now:

(A) that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years

(B) a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years

(C) a long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater.

Bridge-the-gap Alimony has been clarified as:

Alimony to assist a party by providing support to ease the transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs. The length of an award may not exceed 2 years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable in amount or duration.

Rehabilitative Alimony is defined as:

Alimony awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through either:

1. The redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or

2. The acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials. Any Final Judgment or order allowing  rehabilitative alimony must have findings of fact showing a “specific and defined rehabilitative plan”. An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the rehabilitative plan.

Durational Alimony: (A New Form of Alimony)

This alimony is awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration.
An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony and the amount awarded  may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances.
The length of durational alimony may not be modified absent exceptional circumstances.
The length of durational alimony may not exceed the length of the marriage.

Permanent Alimony considerations now include:

The needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage.

Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration, and after a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the following factors:

An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony.

An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship.

Child Support Changes:

The new law begins on January 1, 2011, however:
All child support orders and income deduction orders entered on or after October 1, 2010, must provide:
(A)  For child support to terminate on a child’s 18th 206 birthday unless otherwise agreed to by the parties;
(B)  A schedule stating the amount of the monthly child support obligation for all the minor children at the time of the order and the amount of child support that will be owed for any remaining children after one or more of the children are no longer entitled to receive child support; and
(C) The month, day, and year that the reduction or termination of child support becomes effective.
The new Law Establishes Child Support Guidelines Principles as follows:
(1) Each parent has a fundamental obligation to support his or her minor or legally dependent child.
(2) The guidelines schedule is based on the parent’s combined net income estimated to have been allocated to the child as if the parents and children were living in an intact household.
(3) The guidelines encourage fair and efficient settlement of support issues between parents and minimizes the need for litigation.

Rules for Imputation of Income:

Income shall be automatically imputed and there is a rebuttable presumption that the parent has income equivalent to the median income of year-round full-time workers as derived from current population reports or replacement reports published by the United States Bureau of the Census when:
a) Information concerning a parent’s income is unavailable;
b) a parent fails to participate in a child support proceeding, or
c) a parent fails to supply adequate financial information in a child support proceeding.
In order for the court to impute income at an amount other than the median income of year-round full-time workers as derived from the above reports the court must make specific findings of fact consistent with the requirements of this paragraph. The party seeking to impute income has the burden to present competent, substantial evidence that:
a. The unemployment or underemployment is voluntary; and
b. Identifies the amount and source of the imputed income, through evidence of income from available employment for which the party is suitably qualified by education, experience, current licensure, or geographic location, with due consideration being given to the parties’ time-sharing schedule and their historical exercise of the time-sharing provided in the parenting plan or relevant order.
Except as set forth above, income may not be imputed based upon:
a. Income records that are more than 5 years old at the time of the hearing or trial at which imputation is sought; or
b. Income at a level that a party has never earned in the past, unless recently degreed, licensed, certified, relicensed, or recertified and thus qualified for, subject to geographic location, with due consideration of the parties’ existing time-sharing schedule and their historical exercise of the time-sharing provided in the parenting plan or relevant order.
25% discount traditional applied to amount of day care of paying parent will be ELIMINATED.

The Court may deviate form the child support guidelines based upon the impact of the Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and dependency exemption and waiver of that exemption.

The new law changes substantial parenting adjustment application from 40% to 20% percent of the overnights of the year. This is a significant change.

Orlando Divorce and Alimony Attorney Kenneth D. Morse has over 34 years of family law experience working with complex Alimony cases and will focus on your best interest.

Contact Orlando Alimony Lawyer Kenneth D. Morse

Regardless of whether you are eligible to receive alimony or are required to pay it, inaccurate financial information could detrimentally effect your financial situation. We work hard to protect your rights and financial situation. To schedule an appointment, contact Orlando alimony attorney Kenneth D. Morse today.

 

Contact Information
Kenneth D. Morse, P.A.
Orlando Office

Address: 189 South Orange Avenue
Suite 1800
Orlando, Florida 32801
Map & Directions

Phone: (407) 422-2411
 (407) 333-1382
Fax: (407) 422-2451
E-mail: Contact Us

Heathrow Office

Address: 1515 International Parkway
Suite 2007
Heathrow, FL 32746
Map & Directions

Phone: (407) 333-1382
Fax: (407) 333-1682
E-mail: Contact Us

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