Alimony FAQs

Am I Entitled to Receive Spousal Support or Will I Have to Pay My Spouse?

If you are a dependent spouse, you may be entitled to spousal support. Spousal support determinations can be complicated because of the discretion given to the court. An experienced attorney can present your case effectively. The court will consider a number of factors listed below, in determining alimony payments:

  • The earning capacity of each party;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The earnings and marketable skills of each party;
  • Whether a party devoted time to domestic duties and child rearing at the expense of career pursuits;
  • The ability of the higher earning party to pay support;
  • The obligations and assets, including separate property held by you and your spouse;
  • The duration of your marriage;
  • The ages of the parties;
  • The ability of the supported spouse to obtain gainful employment;
  • Whether time is needed for the supported spouse to pursue further education and training to obtain employment;
  • Whether there is a documented history of domestic violence in the marriage; and
  • The tax consequences of a spousal support order.

Can I Get Alimony if I am not Divorced?

Yes. You may qualify for alimony even if you have not filed for a divorce. Florida statutes, section 61.09, allows a spouse who is not receiving support to apply to the court for alimony, without seeking a dissolution of marriage. The other spouse must have the ability to pay spousal maintenance.

Do I Still Have to Pay Spousal Support if My Ex Remarries?

It depends. A commonly raised defense to alimony is that the spouse seeking maintenance is in a supportive relationship and does not need maintenance. This argument works for alimony orders that are modifiable or which terminate upon remarriage. Other orders are non-modifiable and may continue even if your ex- spouse remarries.

What if my Ex Stops Paying Alimony?

You may seek enforcement of the court order by filing a Motion for Contempt. Your former spouse will have to prove that he/she is not willfully disobeying the court order. Your ex could have recently become unemployed, or ill and he/she can no longer afford the payments and will make those arguments in his/her defense. If you win the motion, the court can impose a wide range of penalties on your ex, such as a money judgment, judgment lien, writ of execution, a writ of garnishment or even jail time. If your ex has a habit of being delinquent, when paying you directly, you can seek an income deduction order so that the employer takes the money directly out of his/her paycheck.

What If I Didn’t Request Alimony During the Divorce and I Later Decide that I Need It?

You cannot reopen the case because you forgot or didn’t want to ask for alimony at the time of the divorce. In Florida, a marital settlement agreement can be set aside because of fraud, duress, coercion or unconscionability. These defenses are not easy and you must have clear and convincing evidence to prove the case. If fraud is asserted, the motion must be filed not more than 1 year after the judgment was entered, except in cases where the financial affidavit was fraudulent, there is no time limit.

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on Alimony Payments?

Final Judgments of Dissolution of Marriage entered into on or after January 1, 2019 are subject to a new federal tax law. In these cases, the receiving spouse does not pay taxes on alimony payments but the payor spouse does. Under the old tax law the recipient spouse pays the income taxes and the payor spouse may claim the payments as a tax deduction. This law still applies to orders entered on or before December 31, 2018.

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