Do Not Get Divorced in Florida
Would you sign any contract that stated: You May Have To Pay This Person A Significant Amount Of Money For The Rest Of Your Natural Life?
Now what if, like a cigarette pack, there was a warning on a marriage license that stated the same thing? Would you marry the person you loved, or would you possibly reconsider?
The fact of the matter is that this warning is not on any marriage contract, but when you get divorced in the state of Florida, there is a high likelihood that you will be ordered to pay “permanent alimony” to your future former spouse.
The information you are about to read is not meant to scare you from getting married. On the contrary, we at Florida Alimony Reform believe in the sanctity and commitment of marriage. We just want you to be fully aware of the facts before you commit yourself to, what may be, a financial life sentence. Also, please be aware that we are not talking about child support here. Alimony is not child support. They are two totally separate and distinct parts of the law.
Alimony is a payment by one party, either the husband or the wife, to the other, for spousal support. In Florida, there are no monetary formulas for determining the amount of alimony one spouse should receive, either on a temporary or permanent basis.
When the parties to a divorce go before a judge during a trial, the judge determines whether alimony should be awarded, as well as the type of alimony and the amount. In other words, since the decision is discretionary with each judge, the amount and type will vary, depending on the particular views of the individual judge assigned to that case
The determination is made using standards outlined in the Florida Statutes; “statutes and laws that were written back in the day when women had little economic power, when divorce was uncommon, and cohabiting was scandalous.”*
Current law, in Florida, requires the judge makes the determination by trying to maintain the lifestyle the couple achieved during their marriage. To do this, the judge typically has no other choice than to order one person to now support two households, even if it means depleting all of the assets to do so.
Current law, in Florida, allows for an ‘equitable distribution’ of the assets in a divorce. While this may sound logical, once again it is up to the judge to decide what is ‘equitable.’ Quite often it is far from a 50/50 split of the assets in favor of one spouse over the other.
Current law, in Florida, uses “Permanent Alimony” as the default judgment (typically for a marriage lasing more than 10 years, but possibly less). Permanent alimony only encourages the recipient to never remarry, to not work at all, or to hide income. It also forces divorced couples to return to court whenever circumstances change, so neither party can ever move on with his/her life and must constantly live with the threat of litigation.
Current law, in Florida, doesn’t have any cap on the amount of alimony a judge can award a person. That’s right, there is no formula like there is for child support. Judges have some guidelines that they can follow, but no steadfast rules regarding the amount they can order. This oftentimes leads to having to return to court when it becomes unaffordable to pay what was ordered.
Current law, in Florida, does not allow for a person paying “permanent alimony’ to retire at Federal retirement age, or the normal retirement age of their particular profession. Permanent alimony ends only when the payer dies or the receiver remarries.
Current law, in Florida, allows income from a second wife (and even fiancé’) to be counted as “family income” in order to upwardly modify the alimony received by a former wife.
Current law, in Florida, makes it nearly impossible to eliminate or modify an alimony order once it is given. The cost of retaining an Attorney to modify a judgment can be unaffordable, and even if it is affordable, there is no guarantee that any modification will occur in court because of the arbitrary and unbridled discretion of the judge.