One of the major questions that are presented to our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators by pro se parties is “how much alimony can I get?”. This is a very difficult question to answer because in Florida mediators are not allowed to give legal advice and they also must be fair and impartial with respect to both of the parties who are in attendance. That being said; trying to determine what amount a Florida Family Law Judge can and/or may order after a temporary hearing or at the Final Hearing is very difficult and it turns on a lot of different variables.
Florida Statute §61.08 is titled “Alimony” and sets forth what a Florida Family Law Court must consider prior to deciding whether a spouse is entitled to an alimony award. If an alimony award is appropriate, a Florida Family Law Judge must determine is the what type of alimony should be ordered since Florida recognizes bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent alimony.
§61.08 requires a Florida Family Law Court to consider the following factors when determining an alimony award: “(a) The standard of living established during the marriage; (b) The duration of the marriage; (c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party; (d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each; (e) The earning capacities, 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; (f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party; (g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common; (h) 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; (i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party; and (j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.”
If one reads the Florida appellate cases that discuss alimony, it becomes quite obvious that the length of the marriage, the earning capabilities of the parties, and the standard of living during the marriage appear to be the most important factors that a court will use in determining the type and amount of alimony. On the other hand, if you use Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. two spouses are able to decide amongst themselves whether alimony is applicable and if it is, what is the monthly amount that is required to be paid and for what length of time.
If you have any questions about mediating alimony, please contact Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. for a prompt response. Our next blog will explain the four different types of alimony that are stated above.