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Alimony Laws in Florida
When a party believes that they have a need for financial assistance from the other party, alimony can be requested. As with child support, the Court can award temporary alimony until the final divorce hearing is held, at which time a permanent alimony amount may be ordered. Alimony can be withheld from the paying parties paycheck or the party can be ordered to pay the money to Support Enforcement who will distribute it to the other party. If the party fails to pay Support Enforcement, one of their staff can testify that the payment was not made; instead of the party having to come to Court with an attorney.
In order to obtain alimony, there has got to be a need for assistance on the part of the requesting party and an ability to pay alimony on the part of the other party. Thus, one party may claim that they cannot pay their basic monthly bills without the help of the other.
A classic example may be the 56-year old woman who has been married for 29 years. It takes $4,500.00 per month to run the household. The husband has moved into an apartment. The wife has never earned more than $300.00 per week and the husband earns $5,000.00 per month. The Court's position may well be that this woman is entitled to economic assistance. She has grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle and she will probably not be required to drastically alter it. Also, there is little likelihood that she can significantly increase her income anytime soon. Clearly there are many cases where the answer concerning alimony is not as obvious.
A good example would be the 9 year marriage where the wife has a particular skill. She has not worked in her profession for awhile and won't have any significant earnings until she is back in the work force for a few years. Courts have the discretion in such a circumstance to award rehabilitative alimony as opposed to permanent alimony. This alimony is for a specific period sufficient to allow the receiving party to finish their education or advance in the job market to the point that they can make a reasonable living and be self sufficient. It may be changed to permanent alimony in some circumstances if the party cannot accomplish their rehabilitative goals through no fault of their own.
When the Florida court decides on the issue of child custody and visitation, the gender of the parents is not considered. For example, a mother will not automatically receive custody of the children just because she is the mother. The judge must only consider what is in the best interests of the child. Florida divorce law requires Shared Parental Responsibility. This means that even though the child may live with one parent, the other parent has equal say in raising the child. Each party must be consulted on the education, health, religion, and discipline of the child. And, if the parties cannot agree on these important issues, the judge will make the decisions.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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