Gainesville Personal Injury, Divorce and Alimony Attorney

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01/10/2014
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Gainesville Attorney – Alimony Changes in Florida

The State of Florida has radically changed its laws relating to the types of alimony a party may receive in a divorce action.

The first change allows for statutory bridge-the-gap alimony, which may not last more than two years. The bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to provide for the transition of a spouse who has not supported themselves in the past to a position where they are able to support themselves and obtain employment.

Alimony is available to a dependent spouse. The new rules define a marriage of moderate length as being more than seven years but less than 17 years. Any marriage over 17 years in length is presumed to be a long-term marriage with a rebuttable presumption that permanent alimony should be awarded.

Previously, the State of Florida only recognized temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and permanent alimony Awards. The new Florida rules provide for a new type of alimony called “durational” alimony. Durational alimony may be awarded to a spouse where a permanent alimony award is not appropriate because the length of the marriage is not long enough, but where rehabilitative alimony is not appropriate either, due to no likelihood of a successful rehabilitation being possible. Durational alimony is to be for a specific term only. It terminates automatically if ether party dies or the spouse receiving the alimony remarries. Durational alimony may last for no more than the same length of time as the marriage and can be modified only upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.

CHILD SUPPORT-calculating it when income is not known

Gainesville Child Support Attorney discusses establishing child support with unknown income

The law in Florida related to the establishment of child support is constantly changing. The Florida Legislature recently enacted some very important legislation regarding child support. These amendments to the calculation and determination of child support are effective beginning October 1, 2010. Amendments to 61.30(2)(b) provide for imputing or assigning an income to a party who does not provide current, accurate income records. This is now allowed to be done by allowing for a rebuttable presumption that the parent has at least the income equivalent to the median income of year-round full time workers as established by current population reports published by the United States Bureau of the Census. Previously a party could simply refuse to cooperate with establishing an income amount for them for purposes of calculating child support and require the party requesting child support to incur extreme expense in proving an amount of income to impute. Typically when this occurred, the court could only impute minimum wage to the party which often was much less than what they were actually capable of earning.

Furthermore, a Trial Court is now authorized to impute an income to a party that is greater than that party has ever actually earned. However, this can occur only if the party in question was recently degreed, licensed, certified, relicensed, or recertified and thus qualified for a higher income. When doing so, the Court must consider the existing time sharing plan and their geographic location.

Establishment of child support can be a complicated process. You should seek experienced legal counsel to help. Call our office at 352-327-3643 to speak to an attorney right away. We can help.

Alimony and Cohabitation 

Although an award of permanent alimony can be modified or terminated for a number of reasons, the newest and currently most popular reason is cohabitation by the former spouse who is receiving alimony. The rules governing termination and modification of alimony were fairly recently modified to allow termination or modification of alimony where a supportive relationship exists between the former spouse receiving alimony and a person with whom the former spouse resides.

Florida Statute § 61.14 (1)(b)(2) sets out very specific criteria to consider when determining weather a supportive relationship exists. These criteria include whether the former spouse receiving alimony and the person with whom they live: (1) have been holding themselves out as married (2) lived together long (3) intermingled their finances or supported one another (4) purchased land or other assets jointly; or (5) contributed services to one another or to the other’s business.

As a result, if you are paying or receiving alimony you should consider whether cohabitation is applicable to you in possibly allowing the termination or modification of alimony. If you are receiving alimony you should be careful that you do not meet these criteria or you risk having your alimony terminated. On the other hand, if you are paying alimony and your former spouse is residing with another person, you should seriously consider whether you may be able to terminate or modify the alimony amount based on the existence of a supportive relationship.

Our office is experienced in assisting you in either circumstance. Call Mark Dubose at 352-327-3643 or visit our website at www.mygainesvillelawyer.com for more information about the termination or modification of alimony.