Alimony is difficult to predict. While there are no exact guidelines for alimony in Florida law, the law list factors a judge must consider. The most important issues the court will consider are:
- The lifestyle the couple had prior to the divorce. If possible, a court will divide assets and future income in a way that allows both spouses to continue their lifestyle.
- The length of the marriage. If the marriage is under 7 years, it is considered short term and alimony is much less likely. A marriage over 14 years will normally justify alimony. Marriages that lasted between the two numbers can go either way. The length of the marriage is only one issue. The judge will consider all of the issues before deciding.
- The ability of one spouse to pay money and the need of the other spouse. The court will look at your ability to work, whether you worked in the past, and how much you earned. Other issues may be important such as special needs of children and if those needs interfere with work. The court will also look to see if you purposely became unemployed or are earning less due to your own lack of effort.
- The amount of property to be divided. If a spouse gets a significant settlement that provides enough money to support their lifestyle, the possibility of alimony is reduced.
- Men versus women: Contrary to popular opinion, there is no legal preference if you are a man or woman. Either spouse can seek alimony. Courts are supposed to make decisions without regard to gender. But as you know, reality frequently conflicts with the rules. The bottom line, women still receive some preference for alimony.