Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

When one spouse earns significantly more income than the other spouse, this does not mean that alimony is automatic in Florida. In order to determine if alimony is appropriate in a Florida divorce and what type should be awarded, the court must perform a “need and ability to pay” analysis. Determination of alimony is made on a case-by-case basis with a basic foundation of what needs to be analyzed to arrive at an equitable amount.

In the case Cooper v. Cooper, 2D18-3636 (Fla. 2d DCA August 2, 2019), the former husband was ordered to pay $6,000 per month in ongoing alimony plus $900 per month in retroactive alimony based on a finding that he earned in excess of $160,000.00 annually. He was also ordered to obtain and maintain a $300,000 life insurance policy to secure his alimony obligation. The former husband appealed, arguing the alimony was excessive and the final judgment lacked findings to support the award.

The appellate court agreed with the former husband. First, the court noted that there was no finding as to the former husband’s net income. Alimony must be calculated by analyzing the net incomes of the parties. Even still, using the $160,000 figure relied upon by the trial court, the appellate court noted the award appeared to be excessive. The trial court also failed to take into account the tax consequences of the alimony on the former husband’s income. Last, the appellate court reversed the life insurance obligation, holding it was first necessary for the court to consider “the need for such insurance, the cost and availability of such insurance, and the financial impact upon the obligor.”

Having a Miami divorce lawyer assist you with your case may mean the difference between an alimony obligation you can afford and one that will overburden you. On the other side, it means maximizing the amount of alimony to which you are entitled. If alimony is an issue in your Florida divorce, schedule a consultation to go over your best options.