Alimony Attorney in Jacksonville, FL
Division of Marital Assets/Liabilities & Alimony
In the State of Florida, the liabilities and assets you bring with you into a marriage are considered non-marital assets, but the assets and debt a married couple acquire during their marriage are considered joint marital property. In other words, what an individual earns, saves, owes, acquires, including gifts, bequests, inheritance and awarded before the marriage is considered theirs. But what the individual parties acquire during the term of their marriage is a martial asset, subject to equitable distribution. Inheritance received during a marriage that is not commingled with marital assets is considered an individual asset as well.
Equal Division of Assets and Debt
Florida Statute 61.075
Under Florida Law, when the family and divorce courts decide on what belongs to whom, the Court is instructed to divide the marital assets and debts equally between the spouses. In most cases, the intent of the law is to award 50% to the wife and 50% to the husband. Certain factors can contribute to an uneven distribution, including where one party wastes marital assets or where one party spends money on an extramarital affair. When a dispute arises or a contested action is brought by one of the parties, the Court requires a written accounting of the marital assets and liabilities so that it can decide an equitable distribution. Identifying all of the non-marital and marital assets may also include any individual ownership interests, which allows the Court to designate which party is entitled to which asset. All liabilities incurred and assets acquired by either party, or jointly acquired during the marriage, are considered marital assets. This includes vested and non-vested benefits, inter-spousal gifts given, any funds or stocks investments, profit-sharing, annuities, pensions, insurance plan benefits, and deferred compensation are all considered marital assets. Additionally, any property purchased during the marriage, such as a second home, investments made or businesses bought or started during the marriage, are also considered jointly shared marital assets. There are considerations the Court can use to justify an unequal distribution of assets and liabilities that could include financial contributions made by one party to the education or career of the other party, retention of an asset such as a business interest or concern, retention of the marital home, or any factors necessary to do justice and equality between one party and the other. At Heekin Litigation Group, our lead family law attorney Hunter Malin is experienced in all types of divorce proceedings including the division of marital assets where one or more of the parties have a joint business ownership or interest. These types of divorce cases can be very complex and it takes years of experience and knowledge to bring about successful outcomes.
The assignment of alimony, monies paid from one spouse to another, can be mutually agreed upon during mediation or decided by the Court to “maintain the current marital lifestyle” of one of the parties for a specified period of time. Alimony is often awarded on a monthly or periodic basis, but can be awarded in a lump sum payment. There are actually 5 different types of alimony designations including temporary, rehabilitative, bridge-the-gap, durational and permanent. Alimony is usually awarded to the spouse who has a need for spousal support when the other spouse has the ability to pay because of the income disparity between the two spouses. The length and duration of the marriage is considered, and Florida law distinguishes marriages between short-term (less than 7 years), moderate-term (between 7 and 17 years), and a long-term (lasting 17 years or longer). The length of the marriage is calculated from its inception to the divorce filing date. These divisions of marriage durations affects the amount and duration of alimony awarded.
5 Different Types of Alimony
Temporary Alimony is often granted during the course of the divorce to preserve the spouse’s maintenance.
Rehabilitative Alimony is awarded to assist the spouse in the re-development of previous skills, acquisition of credentials, re-education, or to receive additional training for employment. The spouse requesting rehabilitative alimony must have an action plan complete with an outline of the amount of money and time needed to complete. Substantial changes in the spouse’s circumstances, a non-compliance or the completion of the plan would be grounds for the alimony’s termination.
Bridge-The-Gap Alimony is usually awarded once the divorce is final and can extend for a period of time up to a maximum of two years. This type of alimony is intended to provide financial support for the spouse making a transition from married life to single status. It is intended to allow the spouse time to assume financial independence.
Durational Alimony is awarded for a specific period of time when permanent alimony is not appropriate. The length of the durational alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage. Like most awarded alimony, its termination applies when the awarded spouse remarries or upon the death of either spouse.
Permanent Alimony provides for spousal support to the quality of life that was established during the marriage. It generally supports the spouse who lacks the financial ability to maintain this standard after the Court has found that this level of support is both reasonable and fair. Permanent alimony terminates upon the remarriage of the spouse receiving support or the death of either spouse. The Court may modify the amount of alimony or terminate it altogether if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances” or when the receiving spouse is involved in a “supportive relationship.”
What is Considered When Awarding Alimony
The standard of living established during the marriage helps the Court determine which spouse has a specific need, if the other party has the ability to pay and the amount necessary to maintain the living condition they have become accustomed to. When deciding the amount and type of alimony to award, the court must consider the duration of the marriage, the financial condition of the parties, age, mental and physical condition of the parties, marital contributions made and any factors the Court considers reasonable. If the divorcing parties can agree on the type and amount of the alimony to be paid, the mutual agreement is then submitted to the Court for approval. Hunter is a very experienced divorce law attorney who has represented countless parties seeking and awarded alimony. Our consultations are free and you are under no obligation unless we take your case.
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