Alimony Determination & Calculation


alimony-calculation-florida-2

The most important factor for alimony is how long you were married.  As the length of the marriage increases, alimony is more likely.  But all of the other factors must also support an alimony judgment.  The time is counted from your marriage date until the date of the divorce petition.

   probability you will pay or receive alimony – by number of years married
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4 years

7 years
10 years
12 years
17 years

not likely

slightly possible

very possible

probable

almost definite

Common Florida Alimony questions and answers

 

I have been married for 4 years and my spouse has supported me the entire time. Can I get alimony?

Very unlikely.  In a 4 year marriage, Florida alimony law considers you an able-bodied adult, able to earn a living.

 

We have been married for 5 years and separated for several years.  If I don’t get divorced for another 5 years, can I qualify for alimony?  Again, very unlikely. 

Your financial existence was separate from your spouse when you began to live apart.  You cannot milk out the length of your marriage just to prove alimony is needed.

 

My married is 20 years long.  Does that mean I will definitely receive alimony? 

You still need to prove your need for alimony, and your spouse’s ability to pay alimony.

 Alimony in Florida is one of the more unpredictable areas of family law. Unlike child support, there is not a guarantee of alimony, nor a set amount if alimony is granted by the court.

Calculation of alimony payments is done by examining incomes and available assets. You can have the same set of facts and get 10 different decisions in 10 different courts. Some states have alimony guidelines – providing a specific alimony calculator, but not Florida. Florida alimony statutes require the judge to consider a list of factors when deciding the issue of alimony. Each factor is shown above.

Unlike other states, Florida does not embrace the concept of legal separation. That means alimony is rarely, if ever, granted unless a couple is going through the divorce process.

Look at each factor to see for yourself how a judge decides on alimony, why alimony is ordered, and factors that go into raising or stopping alimony.

 

If you or your spouse are seeking alimony, you must gather facts and build arguments based on the statutory factors. The Florida alimony statute requires a judge to consider certain factors, shown on our alimony puzzle. You must have provable facts supporting or denying each and every one of the factors. The most important factors are “the length of the marriage,” the need for money of one spouse, and the ability of the other spouse to pay that amount.

Alimony is unpredictable and you should never assume the judge would give alimony or refuse to give alimony. That is why you should do your best to look at the factors and gather supporting facts in your favor.

 

The main types of alimony are:

 

Permanent periodic alimony - the traditional type of alimony that continues until death or remarriage.

Rehabilitative alimony - also called “bridge the gap” – payments for a definite amount and a defined period of time. The payments allow the spouse to return to school or make other life adjustments as necessary.

Lump Sum alimony - not really a form of alimony but a way to distribute property. If the spouse that has property (such as a business) does not have a pool of cash, the court allows regular payments for a defined period of time. In rare situations, regular-support type alimony may be paid in one lump sum and referred to as lump-sum alimony in your final order.

Durational Alimony – A new type of temporary alimony.  Normally granted for a specific length of time – not to exceed the length of the marriage.

 

Factors a court in Florida uses to determine Alimony and the Calculation of Alimony

 

Current Assets of either Spouse

Equitable distribution is the legal process of dividing up the marital assets. Before alimony is considered, the assets are divided up. If the amount of money each spouse gets is more than sufficient to maintain the marital standard of living, an order for alimony would be less likely.

 

The Age of both Parties

The age of either spouse will answer the following questions:

Does the person who wants alimony have a long, money-earning career ahead of them? If so, the case for alimony is weakened.

Is that same person at the end of his or her career and needs alimony to live on? If so, the case for alimony is strengthened.

Does your age or your spouse’s age indicate illness or infirmity ahead? This can affect a decision either way depending on what you are trying to show the court.

 

Employment Prospects of You and your Spouse

 

 

Some important questions to answer

 

▪                How much do you earn AND how much can you earn

▪                Same question for your spouse

The earning capacity of either party will help determine either parties need for money or ability to pay. Physical incapacity may be used to show a lack of earning capacity. If one spouse traditionally was a stay at home parent, his or her earning capacity will be zero.

 

Two important terms you should be familiar with:

 

Voluntarily or Involuntarily underemployed: when you are involuntarily underemployed, you do not earn what you normally could. If it is truly involuntary, it is due to no fault or intentional action on your own.

A Voluntarily underemployed person has purposely arranged things where his or her income is below the normal earning capacity. When this is proven by an opposing party to a divorce the court will “impute” an income to that person.

Imputed Income: if you are voluntarily underemployed the court will impute your normal earning capacity. This means the court will choose an amount of earnings you should be making (based on available facts) and treat your case as if you are actually earning that amount. You may be ordered to pay, or be on the receiving end of support that is based on imputed income. If income is imputed – it does not matter if the income is not actually received.

 

What Fairness and Justice Requires

Florida statutes list a catch all phrase – the judge may consider whatever fairness and justice requires. This phrase gives the judge the most discretion. This is why alimony is the most unpredictable part of divorce.

Since fairness and justice do not have an exact definition you cannot prepare for this factor. But the statute directs judges to consider all of the factors. Since you know about and can prepare for the other factors, it is financially worth an all-out effort to prove your side of the case. Address this factor by using common sense.

Something to consider: once permanent, periodic alimony is granted, the court has the right to modify the amount now and in the future.

 

Current Income of either Spouse

Ability to pay of one spouse and Need of the other spouse. That is one of the most important questions and the answer is based heavily on how much each spouse earned.

A good rule of thumb: if one spouse earns twice the income of the other, the possibility of alimony is increased. Three times the salary and alimony becomes probable. Again, the other factors will always weigh into the decision.

 

The Total Length of your Marriage 

 

The most important facto r for alimony is how long you were married. As the length of the marriage increases, alimony is more likely. But all of the other factors must also support an alimony judgment. The time is counted from your marriage date until the date of the divorce petition.

 

Contribution of Income, Assets, or Debt

 

Did either spouse contribute the lion’s share of income, assets, or debt in the marriage? This factor is not as important as some but should always be addressed in your trial.

You should bring up this fact at trial only if it supports your position.

 

Standard of Living Experienced During the Marriage

A goal of the court is to maintain the marital standard of living for both spouses. If alimony is ordered, it should not raise the standards for the person receiving alimony at the cost of making the paying spouse poor. Alimony should equalize the financial means of both spouses. However, the spouse receiving alimony does not have a right to live a higher standard than during the marriage.

 

Common Florida Alimony questions and answers

Q: Does Florida have a standard for alimony calculation?

A: Florida alimony law does not set specific numbers and there is no standard for amounts

 

Q: I have been married for 3 years and my spouse threatened me with alimony.

A: Under Florida law, alimony is usually ordered for long term marriages – over 12-14 years long. For a short term marriage such as 3 years, alimony is rare.

 

Q: Can the amount of alimony payments be changed?

A: Yes. Alimony payments depend on the income of both spouses. If income significantly changes, you can seek an alimony modification.

 

Q: Is Alimony tax deductible?

A: Normal alimony, referred to as permanent periodic alimony is usually taxable to the recipient and deductible to the payer.

 

Alimony in Florida is one of the more unpredictable areas of family law. Unlike child support, there is not a guarantee of alimony, nor a set amount if alimony is granted by the court. You can have the same set of facts and get 10 different decisions in 10 different courts. Some states have alimony guidelines – but not Florida. Florida alimony statutes require the judge to consider a list of factors when deciding the issue of alimony. Each factor is shown above. Unlike other states, Florida does not embrace the concept of legal separation. That means alimony is rarely, if ever, granted unless a couple is going through the divorce process.

Q: Does Florida have standard calculations for alimony payments?

A: Florida alimony law does not set specific numbers and there is no standard for amounts.

 

Q: I have been married for 3 years and my spouse threatened me with alimony. Should I worry?

A: Under Florida law, alimony is usually ordered for long term marriages – over 12-14 years long. For a short term marriage such as 3 years, alimony is rare.

 

Q: What about modification of permanent alimony?

A: Calculation of alimony payments depend on the income of both spouses. If income significantly changes, you can seek an alimony modification. Modification of permanent alimony is possible any time income is different from the original amount.

 

Q: Is Alimony tax deductible?

A: Normal alimony, referred to as permanent periodic alimony is usually taxable to the recipient and deductible to the payer. This is governed by the tax codes – IRC 215 Alimony.

 

Q: Can Adultery affect alimony?

A: In most cases no. Adultery cannot be used to increase someone’s alimony obligation. In very limited cases, adultery of a person requesting alimony can be used against them.

If you are looking for alimony information you will find tons of free information on this website. Alimony, Calculation of Alimony, and Modification of Alimony can affect your finances by hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This makes it essential that you receive the help of a good attorney.  Divorce Attorney Howard Iken personally created this website with a personal mission: to help people at this critical moment in their lives and to make the process of divorce easier, more understandable, & less intimidating.



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Cheri was referred to me by another local attorney who was not taking any more clients. I couldn’t be happier to have had her represent me during my case. She is very professional and kind. I had another attorney who was great but I dealt with his assistant most of the time. With Cheri I could always go to her directly if I needed to. She is busy too of course but always found time to answer questions for me and calm my nerves. She gave me all of my options from the least costly to other options that may cost more but are worth it. I am glad I took her advice. In the hearing with the judge she was very professional and had my whole case together. She handled herself very well and made the opposing counsel look like a college student. She knows her stuff! Very knowledgable, professional, caring and dependable. I’d highly recommend her!

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  • ronguy2013

    I heard there is a new law that says I will not have to pay alimony. I have been in a case for the last three months. Will the new law apply to me?

    • HowardIken

      The new alimony law has not been enacted at this time. If it is passed and signed off by the Governor then it will apply to all relevant alimony cases. At this time the law is retroactive (meaning it would apply to previous divorce cases as well as future ones). If your case has not finalized by the time the law (if it is approved) takes effect then it may apply to your case. I use the term “may” instead of “will/shall” because each case is different and unique.

  • donna

    I am in the process of going through a divorce, I have been married 24 years and have an 18 year old. I know that I am not entitled to child support but am entitled to alimony right?

    • HowardIken

      Correct on child support. And yes – in a 24 year marriage, alimony will almost always be an issue. You should read some of our blog posts about the new alimony law that is about to be signed into law. BTW – our first consults are free.

  • tniteowl323

    I was divorced on August 15, 2011. I was married for 22 years. I am receiving alimony now…$2500 a month for 5 years. I did not have a lawyer, drew it up myself and filed it with the court. My ex husband is a self employed business owner. I have been hearing a lot about permanent alimony for people who were married for a long time. I am now wondering if I should have gone for permanent alimony and if it is now too late to even consider this. Thank you for your help.

    T

    • HowardIken

      It depends on the language of your final judgment. Sometimes there is a possibility of “expanding” the type of alimony the last final judgement granted to you.

  • GRIF 1960

    i,ve been divorced all most 5 years now. my wife at the time was living with a man making over 100 k and she was working full time for pasco schools as a sub every day. I was and still on total disability after driving a truck for 26 years. married 26 years and two groun kids. my lawyer felt that i should pay her 1000.00 a month because of alimony laws in fla. and long term marriage . we settled out of court with advice from my lawyer. IT,S been 5 years now at a 1000.00 month and she still lives with the same man making 100k plus and she,s working in sumter county now as a sub teacher making 15-20 k a year plus my 12k that i give her . Iam still on total disability granted by a fla. disability judge.i need some help her . IS THIS FARE ? SHE,S 53 YEARS OLD WITH 15YRS. TO WORK FOR HER SELF.

    • HowardIken

      That exact situation was the target of the new proposed alimony law. But the law did not pass this year. It sounds to me like you may have a reason to file a modification under the cohabitation statute – also known as the supportive relationship statute. Just because you received bad advice 5 years ago does not mean you can’t try to correct it now.

  • DianeC

    Hello,
    I have been married 23 years in September. My spouse makes about 157K a year. I have been a stay at home mom about 21 years. My kids are 13, 15, 17, and 21. We purchased a home about a year ago. He tells me it is “his” money. We are both on the mortgage. Both signatures on at least one of the car loans. Can I force him to sell if we divorce? My goal is to have the children living with me, but I don’t see how I could afford the mortgage payment. It seems more fair if we each get our own place. My husband signed for a Parent plus loan for my son to go to college but I do not believe that I signed for that since I didn’t agree with the decision( unless he signed my name without my knowledge). Am I responsible for that ?
    Thanks,
    Diane

    • HowardIken

      Unless you put a large down payment on the home it would be difficult to imagine there is equity. But lets just say there is enough equity to get cash from the house. In a 23 year marriage where you have not worked for 21 years – it is unlikely that it is “his money.” And if a large portion of the marital money is locked up in the home a court would probably order the home sold. You certainly have a strong alimony case. On the loan – there is no absolute answer. Of course if you were my client my position would be that he is responsible for the loan :-)

  • Ivy

    I need some guidance regarding a particular circumstance. My fiancee has been paying alimony for 5 years now. The divorce decree states that the term of the alimony is for 10 years and is UNMODiFIABLE. We have been contemplating taking this back to court, but many have informed me that because it was deemed UNMODIFIABLE no changes can or will be made. In total he pays 1000.00 a month for 5 years is 60,000.00. We want to move on, get married, purchase a home and we cannot because this individual does not and has not obtained a job since the divorce. Its a Rehabilitative Alimony which means it is supposed to help her go back to school, or gain employment. She has done nothing of the sort. With that said, do we stand a chance in court? Please advise, any information is greatly appreciated and useful.
    Desperate Newife!!!

    • HowardIken

      A 10 year alimony agreement for Rehabilitative is a bit questionable from the start. But in general an Unmodifiable agreement is just that: not modifiable. There are advantages to agreeing to that term but it is a dual edged sword.

      • Ivy

        Mr. howard,
        If she is cohabitating with someone???
        Would we have a chance then?

        • HowardIken

          I believe the “unmodifiable” term would trump everything else.

  • DIYer

    Would love your advice. I have been married 15 years……my wife has not worked for the last 11……i have 2 boys…..8 and 11. She is very, very capable of working……she worked for 13 years for Bank of America before kids…..she is 41……in perfect health. Trying to come to an agreement before mediation so I don’t have to pay for someone to “Help” us agree at $200 an hour plus $250 an hour for my lawyer…..or leave it up to a judge. The problem is there are so many factors I don’t know what how much is fair and for how long. Would love to know what would be reasonable for alimony and child support…….

    Net take home pay every 2 weeks $1650…..currently giving her 1/2 which is enough to cover the bills
    The children are covered under my health insurance
    I am currently getting 43% of the overnights
    The house she is living in is paid for ($270k value)
    She has some college

    • HowardIken

      I am sorry. This is not what you want to hear. But what you are asking for is a bit too detailed. The answer I give will affect the rest of everyone’s lives. That has a lot of liability. So naturally I like to know a lot more. I also tend to do that sort of thing for clients. A possible suggestion is for the two of you to see a financial advisor – who can make some common sense suggestions.

  • Carter30

    I have been married for about 15 years and me and my former spouse were living separately for about 5 to 6 years do to my job, but my wife did not relocate with me and chose to stay in the other city, she came to visit me a few times and then went back to her home. We do not have kids together and no assets. The only thing I have is my income and the 401K. My former spouse did not work almost the whole time when we were married and at this time she is sick and is not able to work. We are getting a divorce and are still living in other Cities. Would I have to pay alimony and split my 401K because at that point she chose not to work and was not a stay at home parent either. Please get back to me with your advice, it is much appreciated. Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      You have a complex alimony issue because you have been separated so long. One important bit of info would be whether she was self supporting during the past 6 years. The 401K would be split but the value cutoff would probably be 6 years prior.

  • hstgo

    I was with my ex well married 1 year will she get alimony? I’m new to this and confused… We didn’t have anything together we have two kids that stay 3-4 overnights out of the week. And I work and sheworks. How does this work?

    • HowardIken

      In a 1 year marriage alimony would be extremely rare. Sounds like you are practicing “rotating custody.” That seems to be the current trend and would be approved by a judge if you two sign a settlement agreement.

  • Guest

    +

    Flag as inappropriate

    I am in the process of going through a divorce, I have been married for 40 years. I am 60 only work part time was a stay at home mom. My husband has only SS coming in as income can I get alimony

    • HowardIken

      Yes, absolutely. Alimony can be based on SS income. But the final number will depend on a lot of issues such as total available income, expenses, age, health, etc. But in a 40 year marriage where you stayed at home, alimony is an unavoidable issue.

  • lori

    My Exhusband has not paid his alimony to me for 5 years. my alimony is $3,450 per month. He owes me @ $225,000. About 8 months ago-he began sending me $200 a month. What is available legally for me to use to force my Exhusband to comply with his court ordered alimony? I only have social security/disability income-$1,000 a month. I am literally starving and cannot afford my needed medications. Please advise. Thank You, Lori

    • HowardIken

      You would need a Motion for Contempt and an enforcement hearing. The outcome depends on his ability to pay and the existence of available assets. But alimony is definitely enforceable. If you are in our area, you can come in for free to discuss.

  • Confused

    Wy wife and I were married for 12 1/2 years. We only lived together for 1-2 years after being married. She lived independently up until 3 years ago. I put her and my daughter in an apartment and paid all expenses. She now filed for divorce and wants alimony. She can’t work due to c car accident and being disabled. I even just bought her and my daughter a new home 6 months ago and pay all expenses. What am I responsible for?

    • HowardIken

      You have a really complex situation. Normally her alimony claim would be strong. But all that time living apart may change things. Sorry – there is no cut and dried answer. At this point you need to come in for a free, private consult.

  • airdale59

    Divorced in 2011,Currently paying permanent periodic alimony ($1100.00 per mth) and child support ($205.00per mth). Ex wife just started receiving food stamp benefits of $486.00 per month. Would that be considered a significant change in circumstances to seek a modification of alimony to lower my payments ? The alimony portion is 35% of my gross.

    • HowardIken

      Probably not. But it partially depends on the exact language of the final judgment.

  • exfence

    want to ask a question

  • exfence

    I’m going thru a divorce. I’m 50 y/o guy with a 10y/o daughter(joint custody) my wife made triple digit income while I stayed at home raising daughter. Before that I did construction work. We were married 17 years till she became emotionally abusive screaming in front of our child,throwing things,withholding sex and money,ect. so I filed. My question is do I ask for alimony? I know I’ll probally get it. But is it worth the fight? and the legal costs? Because she will fight! Some people say go for alimony but I;m thinking just get everything I want in the property settlement, avoid court costs and move on. Any advice?

    • HowardIken

      In your situation – ABSOLUTELY. You can always drop your alimony claim later. But you cannot necessarily do the opposite.

  • james

    I ‘ve been divorce since 2011. I paid all my child support in full. Children are over 18 years of age and living on there own now But Iwas ordered to pay alimony to my ex who is currently living with her boyfriend.Who she plans on marrying after the alimony is paid .They been living together since the divorce . Is there any florida law that can help me in this situation. She also going after my military pension.?

    • HowardIken

      Sounds like you should investigate a reduction based on cohabitation. In Florida we have a statute aimed at those situations – called “supportive relationships” in the statute. Not sure what the deal could be on the pension. Unless she has a right to that, it is normally a closed issue. A reading of your final judgment should give some more insight on that.

  • brokenhearted

    I have been married for just 2 months under 14 years (together for 15 years). I worked at his business as his OM for 12 years (at the time it was the best option after I lost my job by being laid off. I could make my own schedule to accommodate all 3 kids school and activity schedules…seemed like the perfect world. In addition to taking care of the children (2 of his from a previous marriage -he had custody) and our child together, I also maintained the primary homemaker role after working give or take 40/50 plus hours a week.. We lost our business and my husband moved out of state for a great job opportunity. He has been there for 11 months now. I remained instate to settle our affairs and for our middle school child to finish school (his older 2 have moved out on their own). We were to join him in the other state at the end of June. Bought 2 one way tickets in April/May for a flight out. Six days prior to leaving, I sold my vehicle (only transportation – currently borrowing my BIL vehicle for the past month) and just hours after the vehicle was sold and gone, I received a call from a female indicating that my husband had been having an affair with her for 9 of the 10 months he was out there (supposedly broke up with her 10 days earlier “in hopes of reconciling or “broken” marriage”—I was unaware our marriage was “broken” –now it was not a perfect marriage but far from broken –IMO. I was on unemployment for the last year but did not receive any job offers because I always told the potential employer that I was looking for short term work in my field due to knowing I was leaving (did not want to lie to anyone). Basically used the money that I was receiving from unemployment in addition to the money that he was receiving from his job to pay our bills together. I still have access to our joint bank accounts. I have always been the bill payer and tried to make sure that we had a small savings too. I never have taken nor “wasted” any of our money (or as recently put to me “his income”). I do not want a divorce yet I do not want to move at this point either. Just too hurt yet to “get over it and move on for the sake of our marriage”. Still love him….I know that ppl must think I am a loser for saying that I do. Currently grieving over the betrayal in my marriage. We (my child and I) are currently living in our home which will be foreclosed on any give day ( we had to surrender the house in our bankruptcy in January). Lost… not sure what is right to do. Need advise on alimony, child support, separation, divorce…or what ever else there is. Please help me.

    • HowardIken

      There is nothing wrong with trying to save your marriage. But at the same time you need to prepare for the worst. You owe that to yourself and your child. I would recommend reading and taking action according to the following article: http://www.18884mydivorce.com/florida-divorce-steps/served-with-divorce-papers/

      You really need to get an initial, private consultation to discuss your options. We offer that for free. But at the same time … you should do some soul searching to decide the direction where you want your life to go.

  • juli

    is there any way to insure there is no lapse between getting alimony after a divorce and when the retirement money kicks in; I am living month to month on disabilty income only without alimony. thank you

    • HowardIken

      I am not totally sure how to answer this one. Alimony will begin on the date ordered. You will have to clarify a bit.

  • Going Crazy

    I have been married for 27 years and my wife is on disability. I have been the majority means of income for years. I live in Florida. My wife has gone off the deep end over our daughters upcoming marriage to the point of stabbing our kitchen counter with a butcher knife while I was standing 6 feet away. I am afraid she has lost it and I do not know if I can stay here. If I leave I will get killed with Alimony payments for the rest of my life basically dropping me down to less than 1/2 of my current take home which has gone to the household accounts for years. Is there any hope?

    • HowardIken

      You may have a difficult time coming up. But it sounds like you have more to worry about than finances. Because she has some sort of income it is unlikely you would end up with less than 1/2 of your take home. Sometimes you just have to move forward and make the best of things. It is definitely time to get a private, confidential consultation.

  • AlmostFree13

    I am gettin a divorce and I’ve been married 14 yrs and my ex hasn’t worked for the last 3 yrs will I have to pay a huge amount of alimony ? I make around $72,000 a years do you think I will be hammered with alimony ?

    • HowardIken

      Not necessarily – in a 14 year marriage the issue of permanent alimony is not as strong as you may think. Other facts surrounding your situation will be important.

  • lynne

    Married: 16 years
    Living apart:1 year
    3 children: 65% me, 35% him
    He provides health insurance

    I live in a 2 bd. 2bth condo, my cousin has lived with me the past year but is moving out soon.
    He just signed a lease on a 3/2 with his new girlfriend
    He makes: 35k full time

    The girlfriend makes:26k full time

    I make 25k part time

    i wanted to settle with him instead of fighting but he doesn’t think $600 month in child support is fair. I was willing to forgo alimony, retroactive child support, and his 401k if he would pay $600 a month and allow me to claim all 3 children, head of household, every year on my tax returns. I left him in our marital home but he chose not to pay the mortgage and trashed the place. I am now spending my time to clean it and return it to the back because I cannot afford it.

    Will the fact he has a “better” home effect how the child custody and support is figured?
    Will alimony reflect that he is sharing expenses with the new girlfriend?
    Should I include ideas of me relocating with all the children in a years time in the beginning?

    Thank you,

    I do plan on scheduling a consultation soon. You seem to know what you are doing!

    • HowardIken

      On relocation – it is best addressed up front. It does not look like there is enough difference in income for a strong alimony claim. A “better” home would probably have no effect at this point. Your numbers seem reasonable.

  • L.smith

    Married: 5 years this year
    No children, no property
    He provides all financial support, makes $50-65,000 per year
    I have only ever worked part time, making less than $10,000 per year; I am completely financially dependent on him

    No marital assets other than my car, which he will probably not try to take from me and was partially paid for by my father; car is in my father’s name and mine, not husband’s

    Credit card debt of $10-12,0000

    I’ve been told you must retain a lawyer before knowing if it’s worth seeking alimony. I cannot afford one necessarily but need to know if there’s a chance for alimony. I am only seeking maybe $500-750 per month.

    • HowardIken

      The length of your marriage is considered short term. That works against alimony. There are other factors. You may want to come in for a free consultation.

  • Dennis

    6.5 years married, just filed for divorce. My income is about $350k/yr, she is a stay at home mom with 3 young daughters. I am 43 and she is 33, she had a good paying job prior to deciding to stay home for the past 5 years but is college educated and could easily rejoin the workforce. Curious to hear your take on alimony.

    • HowardIken

      These are very limited facts. But my take … in general, anything other than short term alimony will be an uphill battle.

  • Dan

    Divorced after 20 miserable years. I agreed to pay $750 per month at the time because I was making about 60k a year and my ex was making 20k. I don’t even know where the number came up. I agreed to do it for 10 yrs. My attorney forgot to put the time limit on my divorce and I didn’t noticed it until much later. I am making less $$ now and I want my alimony reduced and a time limit set. I am making about 30k a year now. How much should I pay on alimony, my ex makes about the same but she has more benefits because she works for the government. I am self-employed. Please help….cannot find any site that can give me an idea of how much I should pay. Thanks.

  • disqus_j17cW7IY1r

    how soon will new alimony law change? ex has been cohabitation relationship and have solid proof of it to try n stop permanent alimony. help with answer.

    • HowardIken

      There already is a cohabitation statute. The failed proposed law strengthened that statute a bit.

  • father

    My daughter has been married for about 4 years and she paid most of the bills during the marriage. When she found out her spouse was cheeting on her the have now decided to divorce and when he moved out she found out that the money she was giving him was not used for bills and left with alot of debt. The question is can she recover this debt and or get alimony. Also she can not afford an attorney at this time what recourse does she have?

    • HowardIken

      A 4 year marriage is a bit short for an alimony claim. But that does not mean she is out of luck on the debt. Any debt run up during the marriage will be a joint obligation. She may want to contact legal aid, or to use an attorney for limited representation.

  • Last straw

    I was married for just short of 25yrs. & help raise & pay for stepson…My ex-husband was always changings jobs (fired), moving, & also took my savings to open & run a private business..Many times I was left to pay all the bills..At the end, he lost everything we had & placed us both in bankruptcy. All of these things occurred in Florida. Bankrupcty & for me was 2009. But he managed to get several of my 401K’s savings, inheritance, etc..To support his dying businesses…In the divorce it was discovered was written out of receiving anything from those businesses had they done well & we divorced..OK, I am now disabilied under to work for 5 yrs. & probably never can (severe back)..I recevive SSD (disability) & along with my alimony…I can barely cover my bills..I live alone in Iowa, he is still in Florida….My Medicare supp. will increase $50./mth every year until I’m 66, (currently 60..Ex-spouse 63)…I’ve had numerous back surgeries, walk with a walker, should have home help but can’t afford..My ex moved straight out of our home in to his girlfriends, got a job which he has kept since 2008 (a retail store manager)…So he is living well at her nice home in the sunshine…They take frequent trips to her homeland Puerto Rico…The alimony he is paying (was intended to partially repay me for my funds, ha-ha $51,000.00…) truth be known probably closer to $300,000. owed..Anyway, now he is frequently not paying me on time the 1st & the 15th/mth. (total is $500/mth.) .Gives me maybe 24-48hrs notice…I begged him for any money for today…I can’t buy grocerys or anything at this time because he paid me nothing…I emailed him my distraught & he ignored me….Now scary thing is “My Medicare supplement is paid directly from that account on the 15th/mth. If the funds are not there they can cancel me & I can not get it again..Because in the state of Iowa, dsiabailty persons do not qualify to have medicare supplement until retirement age…I only got it because I lived in Colorado at the time I started SSD & Medicare. So if my policy payment laps, I loss it all together (supplement)…My alimony ends mid 2016 & my income level has severely changed from what I made before divorce…I don’t know how I will live on just SSD at that time I’m in a serious financial situation…& it will never change…I think he will stop paying me all together before long…I need to garnish his wages? But I don’t have the money to do it (pay atty.) or travel to Florida to appear in court? Can’t I do this without having to go to Fla.? Would I qualify for continuation of the alimony after the end date, due too may change in health & work status? Esp. since I was married for SO long, & constantly worked.. The divorce in Lake County Fla. states the exact amount due me & the due dates for mthly. paymts. He is getting worse with being late. He threatened to not pay at all if I wanted more money than the $51000. & said he would just skip town or leave the country. He has done it before in lawsuits…I don’t know where to go to get these answers, how to do it. & I’m physically very limited in movement, also it will be snowing here soon which is worse…ANY HELP or advice would be extremely appreciated…

    • HowardIken

      Some types of limited-length alimony awards can be modified to permanent alimony. An attorney would need to read your last judgment. It is important you do that before alimony terminates. Any modification case would involve travel to court hearings. Some hearings can be done by phone – but usually not all.

  • john

    hi im john are there free alimony forms, documents for the state of new jersey. so I can calculate my alimony expenses if so what site can I go to print them out for free. or if you could email them to me i would be grateful my email is myangel.jg@gmail.com

  • Guest

    I have been married to my wife for 26 years and have been in the USA for 16 years. We both have the same qualifications
    the same job with the same corporation and the same earning potential. My wife chooses to work part time rather than full time as I do. After a equal split of our assets, we would each be left with $750k in liquid assets and $300k in non liquid assets. Both of our kids are over 18 years old. Do I have to pay her alimony? Would I have to pay her alimony if she chooses to move back to England?

    • HowardIken

      It depends on several different factors – more info is needed. But based on the amount of assets and her ability to earn money, I would say the claim for alimony is weak.

  • tampaman

    Been married for six months now but it does not seem that we are happy. I bought a house one year before we got married and it’s paid off. I am afraid my spouse will threaten me when I file for divorce. Would the court give her a piece of the property knowing that the marriage is less than a year.

    • HowardIken

      At this point, unless you made dramatic improvements – the house would probably be completely non-marital. That means it would be yours.

      • tampaman

        Thanks for the quick reply. I hope you are correct because knowing how the court, the judge..etc behave nothing is black and white. Plus laywers can twist things in favor of who they like the most.

  • Mary Roberts

    if the spouse is engaged to be married again after the divorce is final and they are living together now, will the girlfriends income count as part of his?

    • HowardIken

      That may qualify as a supportive relationship (cohabitation) and give reason to modify alimony. I assume you are talking about alimony? If child support – the answer is no.

  • Todd Spangler

    The Former wife has lived with and been supported by her parents and our now adult children for 8.5 years while never having a Full Time job and never seeking the alimony owed her. I was ordered to begin paying monthly Permanent Alimony ($534) and Child Support ($966) from a moderate term marriage, 16 yrs, 6 mos, 1wk and 3 long days. Two weeks after the divorce was entered, I was asked to leave my job I had had for 10 years. I never became close to finding the level of pay I had been receiving, Long/Short. 12 yrs education so jobs have been spotty, longest duration 3 yrs. Filed for and awarded modification in Child support but waited on the alimony cause she was finally going to school. She lives with her parents and my two now adult daughters, has become licensed as an RN and employed at a major Hospital and decided to get me with contempt; and I am now unemployed. I never paid one cent toward alimony, child support was too high and it took me almost 6 yrs to get that one modified (awarded 2012 amended back to 2008, arrears reduced). The IDO’s took 65% of my low wages so there weren’t enough hours in a day to work to be able to have the IDO’s catch up to the alimony. Can I get alimony terminated on cohabitation, some sort of statute of limitations, apparently not having the need for it so badly she doesn’t claim it or the fact we had a verbal in 2006 that she’d rather I just pay the child support? Today is the 9th, I have hearing the 12th [grits teeth] I just found y’all. BTW, Standard of Living, Ha! While married I worked 2-3 simultaneous jobs, her none which led to 2 bankruptcies, 2 repossessions and literally taking back the house from the courthouse steps. Now the house is repurchased with she and her folks on the paperwork.

    • HowardIken

      Cohabitation with parents does not count. You have an argument based on a principle called “waiver.” That is based on the fact she never enforced her rights. Of course you have a financial argument. Waiver is a complex principle. Good luck for your hearing.

      • Todd Spangler

        Thank you for the prompt reply. I will definitely be in the books this weekend.

  • TD

    My husband was ordered to pay alimony to his ex-spouse of an amount that was greater than his income. He has his paychecks garnished for over 50% of his income. It is durational alimony. The Ex-spouse has re-married, but demands she continue to receive it. We have paid everything we have to an attorney to send an uncontested order to her to sign, and she refused. She has much more money than we do and we also have three children to support. We can’t pay our bills and have lost everything we have, next will be our house and then we will be on the streets with three kids. All the legal counsel we have received so far has been about paying tons of money to fight in court what is our legal right to have dissolved. Please help or help us get in touch with someone that can give us solid advice. Our attorney has not given us any advice for the $750 we paid him and wants $2500 more to even talk to us.

    • HowardIken

      You may want a second opinion. A self-help case is possible if you cannot afford anything else. We can read everything you have from the case, and give a good, thorough second opinion for $350. There may be various alternative courses of action your current attorney has not discussed with you.

    • ABM

      Maybe you both should not had gotten married again. Ever think about that? If one marriage fails who is to know that a second one won’t. Good luck.

  • guest

    I am at my wits end. Husband walked out after 20 plus years of marriage. We have a young teen together. I can not afford an attorney because I have not worked since 1999. My vision is not so good, I have a hard time remembering short articles that I have read, let alone the dissolution of marriage package I picked up recently. I know where my husband works, but he refuses to tell me where he lives. On top of all this, he stopped paying on our home months ago, he opened several credit cards in my name (without my consent) and maxed them all out. I am facing foreclosure, bankruptcy, and the divorce, on top of dealing with the constant day to day stresses of trying to stretch my military retirement check from month to month. I am overwhelmed. Lawyers in my area want between $2500-$3500 as a retainer. I just don’t know what to do. Feeling very hopeless.

  • Rick

    I was recently disabled and collecting disability. Do I still have to pay alimony from my disability?

    • HowardIken

      Depends on the type of disability. But all that would mean is that you cannot be garnished. You would still owe the money. You should file a case for modification of alimony.

  • Ralph

    Non modifiable alimony in settlement 2004.As payor I,was late in 2011 and found in contempt. Judge approved garnishment order. 50% of net salary . I paid balance to catch up along with attorneys fees. Garnishment amount is not enough to cover monthly amount of alimony. I was late for difference for one month after in the following year and was filed against again . Now current, but plaintiff’s attorney refused to dismiss suit looking for attorney’s fee again and wants me to agree to $850,000 life insurance ,which I refuse.
    Since Judge modified settlement to include FS 61.181 is it not held to the FS 61.08 limiting its enforcement of contempt on the deficient amount? Thus denying award of attorney’s fees?

    • HowardIken

      A judge has authority to award attorney fees in any enforcement action. But the ability to add a new obligation such as life insurance is not supported by Florida law.

  • Casey

    I’m military, married to civilian for 6.5 years. No children together, she has son from previous relationship. No real property together. I make about 65k and wife makes 25-30K. She is seeking alimony, money for health insurance, and percentage of my pension. What’s the likelihood of any of that? She doesn’t want to come to an agreement in mediation. I’m not willing to give anything as I am taking over the 23K in credit card debt. Should I just let judge decide?

    • HowardIken

      You have that much money at stake and you do not have an attorney? Blindly waiting for the judge to decide is never a good idea.

  • Tonybee

    I’ve been married for 9 yrs I have a pension of 50k and I earned 50k and my wife has a pension for 22k a year and works seasonally doing taxes will I have to pay allimony

    • HowardIken

      The info you gave is way too limited for an answer

  • shop6780

    can non modifiable alimony be terminated due to cohabitation law in state of florida

    • HowardIken

      Not normally. But it is always worth it to have a reading of your final judgement and a more in-depth opinion.

  • sweetpickle

    I have been married for just over 3 years. My wife has been a stay at home stepmom and not worked during out marriage. We live in a house I purchased prior to us getting married, I am the only one on the mortgage and we are now getting a divorce. She wants to do it amicably, but says she wants what she deserves for the 3 years we have been married. I also started a company a few years before we were married with a partner and she is not tied to my company. Is she entitled to anything from my company or to any of the equity in my house? Can she force me to sell my house? Also, will she be entitled to alimony? We are both 42, I have been the primary bread winner…but she was making $60K per year prior to us getting married working in a surgical office…the surgeon retired and never looked for a job again. She has a college degree and is quite capable of working.

    • HowardIken

      Chances are the business is mostly or completely non-marital in nature (non-divisible). A claim for alimony in a 3 year marriage would tend to be very weak.

  • DSH

    Can non-modifiable alimony be terminated due to cohabitation law in state of Florida IF she gets married?

    • HowardIken

      Normally the answer is NO

  • kay

    My son and wife of 8 years 11 months are divorcing. They had an agreement that she would finish her legal assistant college and for the last 3 years she has not worked, while in college. She is asking for alimony. Since separating he has found out her student loan which he thought was around $12,000 is actually $35,000. He does not know what she did with the money. Her charge card was suppose to have a zero balance, it is $700. He has paid for all the bills. She had numerous affairs some of which she used joint funds to travel to see one particular man. What can he do to not pay this woman alimony? Thank you

    • HowardIken

      That is a huge question that could easily fill a book. He needs to come in for a consultation.

  • Happy

    I married my husband in 1996 (not in Florida) and divorced him in in 2005. We remarried in 2009 in Florida and I have been financially dependent upon him from 1996 to present. Due to illness, I have not worked much over these years. I received alimony for a couple years before believing my health would improve, my health has not improved and last time I lost my home and needed to claim bankruptcy. What can I do to improve my chances at getting alimony. My husband makes over $100,000.00 a year and we have one 16 year old child together living at home and he supported my adult son from age 4. He left me while I was receiving medical treatment and rented himself a place in our subdivision. Can I get him to pay for my health insurance premiums? Any advice you have is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • HowardIken

      A five year marriage would normally make a very weak claim for alimony. This would probably depend on when you became disabled. If it happened during the marriage that would strengthen your claim.

  • guest

    I’ve been married a Lil over 5 years, never worked during marriage, have been stay at home wife/mother. I have medical issues that make it hard for me to work though never made enough to get disability. We own nothing of value other than his car which is solely in his name. We rent our home. He has a good job with benefits. Do you think I would be a candidate for alimony?

    • HowardIken

      The “current” is against you on this one. A five year marriage is solidly in the “short-term” marriage category. The prevailing law is that a five year marriage does not normally justify alimony. Of course there are always exceptions.

  • Jen

    I was married for 18 years. Divorced 5 years now. Receive permanent monthly alimony. No children, several animals. Have had a continuation of medical problems that have caused me to lose several months of work annually due to flare ups of my condition. Annual income is no more and in fact slightly less than it was at the time of the divorce, making the alimony that much more of a necessity. My lease is ending and will not be renewed which will require me to move in just a couple short months. Finding a suitable rental for me and several animals has been extremely difficult at a price that I can currently afford. I do have the ability to live w/my dating partner (heterosexual) while I figure out my next step, however, my financial obligation will not be lessened but rather slightly increased if I do this. (Half of his rent and utility costs surpass what mine are in my current rental). For the preservation of my much needed alimony, must I continue to live in a separate residence, and is this alternate living arrangement one that would jeopardize my receipt of alimony if I were to follow through and accept the offer.

    • HowardIken

      There is a “supportive relationship” statute – more commonly known as the cohabitation statute. But it is a “steep” burden of proof for the other side. They basically must prove you are living in a relationship similar to a marriage and the relationship is significantly reducing your expenses (or need for alimony). That is not always easy to prove. You must make your own decision on risk.

  • Stacy

    STILL Married: 24 years but separated 7 of those (2007)

    TOTAL HAPPILY married-17 years
    Living apart:7 years
    1 child: 50% both but we share the house and go back n forth to him, I’m there everyday but dad sleeps there 80%, that’s SLEEPS
    He provides health insurance

    I live with my parents because he won’t give me a definite amount monthly to put into my own place, then our child will live with me 100%

    He makes: 210k full time, luxury lifestyle.

    My question is I haven’t worked in 23 years due to being a Mom and now I’ve been offered an $11.00 per hr job.

    Will this hurt my chances of alimony if I take this job?

    • HowardIken

      The job will have an affect – but not huge. The fact with more concern is the 7 year separation. That is unusual leading into an alimony claim. That would require a bit more thinking.

  • mike

    I been married for 13 yrs but only live together for about three yes I get a disability check from via for PTSD we have no kids no property she works full time. Do I have to pay alimony oh I am 65.

    • HowardIken

      Pretty bit question – without any info. There is not enough here to answer that type of question.

      • mike

        What I am trying to say is can she get alimony from my va disability check.

        • HowardIken

          Highly doubtful based on the info you gave

  • mike

    We have been married for 12 years and separated for 7 years I am totally disabled. She works and I get a disability check from va we don’t have any kids or property. If we were to divorce do I have to pay alimony from my va check.

  • Luna

    I was married for 13 Years, I get divorced but I didn’t know about alimony. I found out I was aloud to have alimony can I ask for alimony now after 7 years of divorce.

    • HowardIken

      No. Once a final judgment is entered that does not contain alimony – the issue of alimony is permanently closed.

  • Luna

    I got divorced in Florida 7 years ago and now both we are living in Idaho. I’m not working and I have 2 kids with him. Can I aloud to ask for alimony.

  • guest

    Married 8 years, I’m on social security disability for over 10 years. am i eligible for alimony. married to abusive spouse, spouse filed for divorce said he gonna kick me out of our marital home. i have nowhere to go and unable to work due to my disability. (physical & mental)

    • HowardIken

      It depends on many different factors. An 8 year marriage normally brings with it a very weak claim for alimony. The fact that you were disabled before the marriage further weakens your claim. But there may be a possibility of some sort of short term (multi-year) alimony award.

      • guest

        what type of short term alimony? Will I be kicked out of our home into the streets with Nothing, to live in my car, and the clothes and my things that can fit in suitcase? Although I contributed financially with Proof via bank statements, etc to marriage?

        • HowardIken

          There are several types of short term alimony such as Durational and Rehabilitative.

  • matt

    lived in my home for two months before getting married. half an hour after marrying we were in a auto accident. We agreed to divorce while still in the hospital. After discharge we did not again live together and do not to this day. I am on SSD as is she. The difference is I live on my own with bills and a child, and she lives with her father (as she did before we met) with no minor child in her care. While we were together she attempted to utilize her college degrees (2 associates) to work at a insurance agency along side her father. She filed in June of 2013 (6 months later) Does she qualify?

  • William Guy

    I am 56 she is 58 and she has never really worked. We have been married right at the 8 year mark. She is asking for alimony, no children or assets. We have been separated for 6 years, what are the chances of her getting alimony, she is able to work.

    • HowardIken

      Slim to none chance of alimony under the facts you provided.

  • DSH

    Is there a major change to alimony laws that has been put into place? Does this affect previous agreements?

  • Gina Townsend

    Please help, I am 44, spouse 45, we have twins going on 10, and a 18 year old, unable to care for herself , she doesn’t drive, lives at home and has social aniexty, she can’t even talk to people on the phone, but she is not disabled. I have been married 19 years, the only time I ever had a job was in 1995-1998, and was fired for no high school diploma. I then found out I have TBI and can’t remember anything as well as a bad injury to my back and COPD, I have a lifetime disability parking pass, but was denied disability years ago, and to weak to appeal, plus my spouse always made great income allowing me to get breast augmentation,tummy tuck, vacations, ect, he wanted me to be a housewife. Now though out the marriage he was very verbally and physically abusive, then started keeping me locked inside took my car away and bought a new truck over40,000, and then a Harley Davidson 12,000.00, and also we rent our home out and he get his pay plus the rental money and now is not paying on my home. He moved out, leaving me living with my Dad to provide for us, I filed for child support through irs, and it’s been months, I only have received one payment in two months of 250.00! He has all the vehicles, changes address, I don’t know his new one, never since possessing us, he has kept all his money earned for the last 4-5 years, opened a bank account without me, has the keys to the truck and motorcycle, we are literally prisoners, I can’t even file for divorce cause he has all the money. If I can get my family to help and file, getting allimony? He makes 70,000.00 plus bonus quartly, and $9,000.00 a year in profit from rental home. If I can get money borrowed a get a lawyer, he has more cash to get a better lawyer and I am scared I will get screwed. Raw estimate, can you tell me what you think I would get in Alimoney, and child support? Would I get one of the vehicles, and would he have to pay monthly payment, what about the house? We have no credit cards, only the two vehicles he just purchased when he left home (isn’t that funny!) 718.00 ,onto truck payment, 400.00 bike, insurance 300.00, and mortgage/taxes/insurance 730.00. He pays no living expense living with a friend. Don’t know where all his money is going. Just need to know estimate min what I will get. Can anyone please help me?? Btw, I have to now get food stamps of 540.00 a month for four do us which isn’t nearly enough, and healthcare, my spouse gets vision and dental though work for us and pays 45.00 a month for the benefit

    • HowardIken

      Not sure what your question is. But it does sound like you have a strong alimony case.

      • Gina Townsend

        Thanks for answering my above post, sorry I was so unclear on my question. I am just curious how much you think I would get in alimony for being married almost 20years, (see my above info if need ) he earns 78,000.00 plus bonus, are only debts are the truck and motorcycle he just purchased both, and then a home we have equity in that we are renting until we see who gets what in divorce.Besides Alimony, leaving me without a vehicle (just recently) Would I get awarded the truck too,(if so would he have to pay, like he always has) or would my alimony have to cover the truck payment? and do you know how much I would aprox. get for child support on my 2 kids? ( not sure about the 18 year old cause of her needs) I know you can’t say exact but can you give me a bare Min. Amount for alimony, and child support based on the fact I provided above? thank you.
        I am huts trying to see what I would aprox get, before trying to find a lawyer, he left June so I am assuming child support will go back to then correct? I filled to receive though IRS and they have been no help.
        Thanks again Also what is the Alimony Reform Bill? And does it effect me in anyway?

        • HowardIken

          Here is information on the alimony reform bill: http://www.18884mydivorce.com/florida-alimony-law/new-alimony-law/

          • Gina Townsend

            Thanks, So the way I am understanding it, I should hold off until June 11, to file a petition for divorce so it will be considered “long term” and I can have a better case for alimony! I have only been married 19 years to date, even though I know our divorce will not be final until after June, from what I am reading, it clearly states the marriage length goes by the date we file, not the date of dissolution. Am I making any sense? I just don’t want to get taken through the wash. Thank you again

          • HowardIken

            Sorry. I cannot go as far as to tell you what to do. That is best done within a private consultation with full knowledge of your facts.

  • kay

    My son and his wife are divorcing. She hasn’t worked for about 4 years. BUT she has (without my son’s knowledge) taken money from her student loan about $25,000 also her own charge card he thought had a zero balance is about $800. Not including the actual college costs, the total is almost $40,000. All the $25,000 was spent on herself and I think her affairs. She had numerous affairs with different men. She filed right before he was going to file for divorce and she is requesting alimony for that marriage of less than 9 years. What are the chances he may have to pay her alimony? Thank you, Kay

  • Curious

    I am military. We have been married for 4 years. We were married previously for 7 years, got divorced and remarried after a 3 year divorce period. Things didn’t work. Will my previous marriage to her have an impact on my alimony or is the current 4 year marriage all that is considered?

    • HowardIken

      The current 4 year marriage will be considered.