Monday, March 12, 2007

Alimony and Factor of Ability to Pay

Determining alimony awards in Florida can be confusing. After it is determined that a party is entitled to alimony, the Court must then determine how much alimony should be awarded. One of the major contributing factors to determine how much support should be awarded is based on the obligor spouse's ability to pay. When determining an obligor spouse's ability to pay, please remember the following:

1. Ability to pay is not based solely upon income, all assets, including non marital assets will be considered. White v. White, 617 So.2d 732 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993).

2. Alimony cannot be based on past earnings if those earnings are no longer available. DeSanto v. DeSanto, 621 So.2d 560 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993).

3. Amount of alimony award must be based on current circumstances even when there is evidence that changes will occur in the future. (ex., future inheritance). Hollinger v. Hollinger, 684 So.2d 286 (Fla. 3d DCA 1996).

4. Factual findings of the obligee spouse's monthly needs must be established to determine amount of alimony. Diffenderfer v. Diffenderfer, 491 So.2d 265 (Fla. 1986).

For more information about how alimony is determined see 2006->Ch0061->Section%2008#0061.08">Florida Statute Chapter 61.08

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