One of the first questions that many people have for their Florida divorce attorney may be "How much will this divorce cost me?" The answer to that can be quite complex, depending on the amount of assets and whether the couple has minor children. One financial question that is fairly easy to figure out is that of spousal support. The Florida divorce laws regarding spousal support are clear-cut. While spousal support is always up to the judge's discretion, it is generally only awarded under very specific circumstances. Read on to learn some of the main reasons that a judge would order spousal support in Florida today.
Is Spousal Support Needed?
The most important factor in determining whether spousal support is awarded is often need. Put simply, does the person requesting spousal support need that money to live? Spousal support is rarely awarded unless the person requesting it can clearly demonstrate that they are unable to maintain their standard of living without that money.
This is easy to do in situations where the spouse requesting the support is a stay-at-home parent, or in cases where the spouse has never worked. In cases like these, the individual clearly can't maintain a reasonable standard of living without money from their spouse. However, the judge may factor in ability to work. If a spouse is able to work but chooses not to, they are generally far less likely to receive spousal support than they would be if they were disabled or otherwise unable to work.
How Long Was the Marriage?
While the length of the marriage is not always a determining factor in spousal support requests, judges in the state of Florida can use it as a guideline if they wish. The state of Florida does not set a minimum for how long a couple must be married before spousal support can be requested in a divorce. However, the longer that the marriage lasted, the more likely that a spouse will be deemed eligible for spousal support.
Did Adultery Occur?
In cases where adultery occurred, the amount of spousal support can be increased at the judge's discretion. This normally only applies when the person requesting spousal support was not the one who committed adultery.
What is the Financial Situation of the Other Spouse?
The spouse who would be paying spousal support must generally be in a healthy financial state for this type of support to be ordered. The judge will typically order this type of support only if it would not cause undue hardship to the providing spouse. If a spouse is able to prove that they have expenses that meet or even exceed their income already, they are unlikely to be ordered to pay spousal support in Florida.
While the things discussed above are general guidelines regarding spousal support in Florida, each case is unique. Other factors including the age and the health of the people involved in the divorce may also play into the decision of whether to award spousal support. To have the best chance for the outcome you want, consulting with a local divorce attorney is imperative.
For more information, contact Eschbacher Law or a similar firm.