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In Florida, the award of alimony is not cut and dried according to a neatly laid out statutory formula. Unlike child support, which has detailed guidelines to follow, alimony is based on judicial discretion. Unfortunately, this means that awards of alimony can be widely disparate.

Current law provides for seven statutory factors to be used in considering the amount and duration of alimony. It is difficult to predict the amount of award to expect. While some rules exist, they are not clear enough to avoid very different results.

The award of alimony is based on the need of the requesting spouse as well as the ability of the paying spouse to meet that need. The lack of clear standards gives rise to a host of complications that those who practice in the area face on a regular basis. Among the problems encountered in a request for alimony are the following:

  • What is the standard of living?
  • How long a marriage is needed for the standard of living to be met?
  • Is the standard of living to be met only for necessities or for a middle or higher class of income?

Some factors that the court considers in its award of alimony include the following:

  • The standard of living of the parties
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age of the parties
  • The physical and emotional condition of the parties
  • The marital assets
  • The non-marital assets
  • The liabilities of the parties
  • The need for a party to acquire education

Alimony may be granted to either spouse. The award can be permanent, or it can be rehabilitative. Payments may be ordered or a lump sum may be awarded. Your Tampa divorce attorney can advise you if alimony is in your future.

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