The issue of spousal support, or alimony, is a difficult subject in many divorce cases. Alimony creates a debtor/creditor relationship between you and your spouse, which leaves a lasting connection between the both of you until the obligation for alimony ends.What Types of Alimony are Available?
There are several types of alimony: temporary (during the divorce case), rehabilitative (to enable a party to become retrained, educated, and self-sufficient), bridge-the-gap (to assist a party in making a transition from being married to being single), durational (to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time), permanent (to provide for the everyday necessities of life as they were established during the marriage for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs/necessities following a divorce), and lump sum. A party may be entitled to a combination of these types of alimony, depending upon the factors set forth in Florida Statute §61.08(2), including, the standard of living established during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the age of the parties, the emotional condition of the parties, the financial resources of each party, the earning capacity of each party, including their vocational skills and employability, the contribution of each party to the marriage, such as homemaking, childcare, and education and career building of the other party, all sources of income available to each party, and any other factors necessary to do justice between the parties.How Do I know if I am Entitled to Alimony?
Many times, we must take an in depth look into the parties' actual income and available assets, the marital standard of living, and other complex issues. We will work with a forensic accountant and/or vocational evaluator, if necessary, to help us get the most detailed information to enable us to address the issue of alimony through mediation or litigation.
As a result of the economic downturn, many people have had a decrease in their income or loss of employment, which may be temporary or permanent. Unfortunately, your unforeseen and unanticipated loss of income or employment may result in you being unable to meet your alimony or spousal support obligation. Depending upon your particular circumstances, you may be entitled to an abatement of your alimony obligation or a modification of your alimony obligation. Whether you have sought a modification of your financial obligation from the court or not, it is important to know that you must continue to pay until there is an agreement or the court orders otherwise. If you do not, the alimony recipient/former spouse may pursue legal actions against you, which could include enforcement of your agreement or court order, contempt and reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and costs. The family and marital law attorneys at Hertz • Sager have the knowledge and experience to advise you of your options and guide you on the path to best deal with your sudden inability to meet your alimony obligation.