Ten Important Factors that Determine Spousal Support in Miami
October 25, 2016
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It is one of the most sensitive and complex aspects of a divorce settlement. Thousands of people throughout Miami are required to pay alimony to their former spouse. Spousal support is a necessary tool to help a financially weaker spouse maintain a reasonable standard of living and to raise their children. Because alimony is completely decided by the courts, there can be a sense of uncertainty for both parties. That is why it is essential to have a Miami family law attorney to properly explain and provide sound legal advice for how to prepare. Here are ten important factors courts often use to determine spousal support in Miami.

  • Standard of living: The judge will closely examine the standard of living while the couple was married. Based on that criteria the goal is to help both parties maintain that same standard of living after divorce. The assets of both parties will be reviewed by the court, including cars, homes, investments and more. It is important to understand standard of living is not just determined by income and assets. The court will also examine your recreational lifestyle, such as your spending habits or where you like to go on vacation. The more expensive the lifestyle, the more likely a higher spousal support will be required.
  • Length of the marriage: In most cases, the longer a couple has been married, the higher the amount of alimony. The length of marriage is divided into three categories–long term marriage (17 years or more), moderate term marriage (7-17 years) and short term marriage (less than 7 years)
  • Mental and physical condition of both parties: The overall health of both spouses is taken into major consideration. If one party is suffering from an illness or physically disabled, they are more likely to receive greater spousal support.
  • Financial resources: Alimony is ultimately decided on the level of need for spousal support. A spouse with a significantly lower or no income will generally be awarded alimony. But income is only one example.  Access to investments, such as stocks and bonds or trust funds, are also taken into consideration.
  • Earning potential: Current income levels can sometimes be deceiving. The court will also look into each person’s earning potential. These factors include each spouse’s level of education, work skills, experience and employability.
  • Contributions to the marriage: While many people assume income is the most important contribution to a marriage, there are several other factors to be examined by the court, including homemaking, child rearing. In the case of home making, the spouse will need to stay at home to maintain the household and raise the children.
  • Future parental responsibilities: The job of the court is to determine the best interest of the children. Both parents are often given responsibility to help raise the child, unless there is a threat of abuse. Medical, health and time sharing responsibilities will be taken into consideration for spousal support.
  • Taxes: Money received from alimony can be classified as taxable income. If you are paying spousal support, it can be written off as a tax deductible expense. The implications of your tax situation will all be taken into consideration by the court.
  • Sources of income: The court will carefully look into all sources of income for both parties. If one spouse has a proven portfolio over a long period of time to provide a 10 percent return for the other spouse, the historic returns used as additional income can be used for determining alimony.
  • Adultery: The court will not look favorably on any spouse that is found to have committed adultery during the marriage. Depending on the circumstances of the adultery, the court could deny awarding spousal support or establishing an amount. .