One thing that keeps too many people in unhappy and even abusive marriages is that they’ve gotten used to a standard of living that they could never maintain on their own. This doesn’t have to mean multiple homes and regular European getaways. It can be a comfortable middle-class life.
If you’re the spouse who earns less or doesn’t work outside the home, you have a right to ask for alimony (spousal support) to help you maintain that. It may be temporary – until you can obtain the skills, education or contacts you need to become comfortably self-supporting. If you’re older or have health issues or obligations that prevent you from doing that, it could be permanent.
What factors can be considered under Florida law?
Courts can consider a number of factors if they’re asked to determine alimony (when a couple can’t agree on an amount on their own). These include:
- Length of the marriage
- Financial resources of each spouse following the divorce
- Both spouses’ earning potential
- How much each person contributed to the marriage
For example, if one spouse gave up their career to stay home and care for the kids while their spouse built a business or if they worked while their spouse got a medical degree, these things would be considered.
Another factor that can be considered is the “standard of living established during the marriage.”
What if the standard of living was “artificial?”
Divorce has a way of bringing financial truths to light. Sometimes a grand lifestyle is built on mountains or credit card debt or loans that will someday become due. If that’s the case, a spouse can’t expect to maintain a standard of living they never had the means to support. Instead, you may have to work to ensure that you don’t get stuck with debt your spouse alone created without your knowledge.
On the flip side, if it turns out your spouse was squirreling away millions (for themselves or your financial security as a couple) while you were looking for online clearance sales, you can ask for alimony that’s more in line with what your spouse can pay (and get the appropriate share of the marital assets you actually have). With experienced legal guidance, you have the best chance of getting a fair spousal support order.