I recently received a comment from a reader with some questions about equitable distribution and alimony in a long term marriage in Florida. I thought I would respond in this blog, because I think her worries were consistent with some other worries that I have heard before.
When a couple has been married for 20 years or more, this is considered a long term marriage. If there is a large discrepancy in incomes you can expect an alimony award, however, the amount of that alimony is something that is left up to judicial discretion and in some circumstances, there are judges that rarely award large amounts of alimony. If a party hasn't worked outside the home, there is a good chance that a judge would require you to be partially responsible for your own financial needs, and the judge will also look to see what type of equitable distribution you received in the divorce to determine what your actual need is. Alimony is an area of law where judges have broad discretion and you are going to get different outcomes depending on what judge you are in front of. There are some judges where I know that they will award descent, if not overly generous, alimony to a spouse and then again there are other judges who may not award any alimony at all. Therefore, equitable division of property becomes very important and therefore, it is equally important to insure that you have competent legal representation who knows all of the discovery tricks to uncover all assets that are held jointly or individually in one parties name. This process can sometimes be tedious, but if there is an asset out there that is partially yours, you should leave no stone unturned.