Updated: Sep 6
Divorce is a painful and unpleasant ordeal for most couples. No one can prepare you for the mental and emotional toll it takes and the legal decisions that must be made. In most divorces, the agreement on Alimony for spousal maintenance is one of the most challenging decisions a couple will need to make. How is Alimony decided in Florida?
Factors considered in Alimony Determinations
Florida courts consider several factors specified in the state statutes when determining whether Alimony is warranted and how much the Alimony award will be. The elements usually come from the details of the couple’s marriage and life together. Florida judges look at the following factors:
The duration of the couple’s marriage;
The couple’s income during their marriage;
The couple’s total assets and liabilities;
If the couple had children together during the marriage;
The couple’s lifestyle and living arrangements during the marriage;
The couple’s health;
The extent to which one of the spouses supported the other during the marriage.
When a couple cannot agree to alimony payments, the court is asked to make the decision. In Florida, almost all lawsuits must be mediated before a court will allow them to be put on the trial calendar., according to the Florida Senate, mediation has proven effective in reducing court dockets and trials and offers a more efficient, cost-effective option to litigation. Tridialogue Mediation can help you mediate alimony determinations.
Types of Alimony Awards
In addition to determining whether alimony is justified and the amount of alimony, the court also determines how long alimony will be paid. Laws governing the determination of alimony in Florida are essentially based on need and the other spouse's ability to make the payments. To accommodate many circumstances, Florida law allows for different types of alimony, including:
Permanent Alimony is awarded for lifetime duration and is typically only awarded after a long-term (at least 17 years) marriage ends.
Durational Alimony is awarded for no longer than the duration of the marriage and usually applies to medium and long term marriages.
Bridge-the-gap Alimony is Intended to help one party with short-term needs while the couple transitions from being married to being single, but for no more than two years.
Rehabilitative alimony is intended to support a spouse until they become self-sufficient according to a rehabilitation plan to get a degree or certification, education, or job training.
When both spouses discuss monetary support during a divorce, they often need help from a lawyer or a mediator to get them through the legal discussions and disputes amicably in a reasonable amount of time. Shay Manibog possesses a law degree and over 18 years of experience in successful dispute resolution.
Benefits to Using Mediation in Determining Alimony
Rather than add the financial burden of hiring an attorney, many couples opt to seek the services of a Florida Court Certified Mediator instead. A Mediator can help both parties determine alimony, reasonably and equitably distribute assets, and agree to a parenting plan in an unbiased manner.
· Mediation is less stressful than an attorney-led divorce proceeding because a neutral, third-party mediator conducts al meetings amicably in a relaxed environment.
· Mediation strives for an amicable arrangement, which serves all parties equally.
· Mediation is private and confidential as no public courtroom or witnesses are required.
· Mediation is significantly less expensive than an attorney-led divorce or if parties are represented by attorneys.
· Mediation takes weeks compared to months or years in a regular divorce.
Clients of Tridialogue Mediation in our Boynton Beach, Vero Beach, and Orlando, Florida offices express their gratitude for helping them close the most painful chapter in their lives. In addition to mediating alimony, we can handle the entire divorce process for both spouses, so you are comfortable throughout the process and find a sense of relief at the end of the process.
Is a Mediated Agreement Legally Binding?
A contract is a document signed by both parties setting forth the responsibilities and rights of each party to a transaction, like a divorce. Each of the parties has the right to enforce the contract terms and provides legal remedies should one party breach the contract. For an agreement to be legally enforceable, contract law requires that it includes specific elements, including:
· Specific details of an offer
· Acceptance to the terms by both parties
· Something of value being exchanged between parties
· Both parties have the mental capacity to understand and agree to the terms
· Both parties enter into the agreement with the intent to carry out their part
· The terms of the contract do not go against public policy and are lawful
When the parties reach an eventual agreement, the agreement will be drafted and reduced in writing by the mediator. Both spouses will sign the agreement, so it becomes a binding contract.
Shay Manibog is a trusted Florida Court-approved legal mediator. She has handled many successful mediated divorce agreements with many satisfied clients. If you are ready to move on with your life, take the next step and email at email@example.com or contact us at 772-226-7112 to schedule an appointment. Find out about our free Divorce Workshop.