Mediating a case where spouses to a long-term marriage have filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage involve a number of issues that are not necessarily common to other divorces. In addition, emotions can run high due to fact that the spouses have been married for such a long time and have a lot of history together.
Further, in this type of a divorce only one of the spouses truly want the divorce so there is animosity by the other spouse. In Florida, a spouse can’t stop a divorce from being granted as long as the other spouse testifies that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators at Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. have found that there are several reasons that spouses in a long-term marriage get divorced. One common reason is what is known as “empty nest syndrome” which is where all the children have moved out and are on their own. One spouse may have spent most of the marriage raising children and now realizes that all he or she has left is a spouse that they no longer recognize.
Another reason is that one of the spouses has aged more than the other and is no longer attractive to the other. This often coincides with one spouse wanting to be nothing more than a “couch potato” and the other one wants to be active and go on trips or cruises.
A long-term marriage for alimony purposes is defined in Florida Statute §61.08 (4) which provides that “For purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater. The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.”
When dealing with a long-term marriage, almost all of the factors contained in §61.08 come into play, which includes: the standard of living established during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, the age and the physical and emotional condition of each party, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment, the contribution of each party to the marriage, including, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
Permanent alimony requires that the paying spouse is responsible for some portion of the other spouse’s financial needs for the rest of either of their lives. This type of alimony is generally only appropriate in long term marriages. Another consideration in a long-term marriage is Social Security benefits because in this type of a marriage one party can collect Social Security off of the other party’s earnings. These benefits can be used to offset the amount of alimony that would be ordered.
Mediating a long-term marriage can be complex, but our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators at Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. are experienced in these types of mediations.