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Getting Court Ordered Alimony

Alimony is a main point of contention for many couples going through divorce. Alimony is meant to help the receiving spouse get on their feet financially after the break-up of the marriage, and some couples are able to agree on an amount that seems fair to them. In other cases, determining when and how much will be paid often requires lengthy negotiations between opposing parties and their lawyers, and spouses who are obligated to pay alimony may see it as a form of punishment, an unfair obligation to support their former partner’s lifestyle. If you are considering getting a court order for alimony, the following information will help you to understand how the court will make its determination, as well as what happens if the person ordered to pay alimony refuses to do so.

Determining the Amount of Alimony

Divorce, referred to as the dissolution of marriage, is covered under Chapter 61 of the Florida State Statutes. Under Section 61.08 of these statutes, court ordered alimony may be awarded to either party, based both on the needs of the person requesting alimony, as well as the other party’s ability to pay. The types of alimony that can be ordered include bridge the gap and rehabilitative alimony to help the receiving spouse get back on their feet financially post-divorce, and this alimony can be ordered for a specific duration, such as while they attend school, or for a more permanent period of time. The court may also order alimony to be paid periodically, or in one lump sum payment, depending on the circumstances. Factors the court will consider when determining alimony include the following:

  • The period of time the couple was married;
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage;
  • The age, physical, and mental condition of the spouses;
  • Earning capacity, education level, and vocational skills of the spouse requesting alimony;
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage, both financially and in terms of emotional support; and
  • All assets and income belonging to each party.

When making the determination to award alimony, the court considers a marriage lasting seven years or less a short-term marriage. A moderate-term marriage is considered between seven and 17 years, and a long-term marriage is over 17 years. In addition to the above, the court will also consider whether either of the parties committed adultery. A finding of adultery can have a negative impact on the part of the spouse requesting alimony, as well as the spouse ordered to pay.

Refusing To Pay Alimony

While a court order provides security in the amount and type of alimony a former spouse is obligated to pay, simply having a court order for alimony does not mean your spouse will necessary pay it. Under Section 61.12 of the Florida Statutes, a spouse who fails to follow the order and neglects to stay current on alimony could face contempt of court charges. If found in contempt of the court order, the person obligated to pay can be held subject to wage garnishment and as well attachment of any assets or funds that person has. Salary garnishments can be enforced on a continuing and ongoing basis until the total amount of support ordered is paid.

Reach Out to an Lawyer for Help

If you or someone you love is going through a divorce, contact our experienced Florida family law lawyer. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, our lawyers and staff will provide you the compassionate, comprehensive legal service you need at a time like this, while aggressively protecting your rights and looking out for the best interests. Call us today at 772-595-6654 for a free consultation.

The Law Office of William E. Raikes III is located in Fort Pierce, FL and serves clients in and around the communities of Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie and Vero Beach.

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