Alimony in Florida is one of the more unpredictable areas of family law. Unlike child support, there is not a guarantee of alimony, nor a set amount even if alimony is granted by the court. Once a court determines that an award of alimony is appropriate in a dissolution of marriage, the court examines the income and assets of the parties, and considers certain factors, including:
Archive for March, 2011
In 2010, the Florida State Legislature codified and standardized alimony across the state, making law what had been the differing practices in the various state circuit courts. In this Act, the Legislature defined the length of marriage as the time from the date of the wedding to the date of filing a court action for the dissolution of the marriage. The Legislature also standardized descriptions of marriages in Florida as ‘short-term’ (less than 7 years), ‘moderate-term’ (from 7 to 17 years), and ‘long-term’ (marriages lasting more than 17 years). The Act also provided for four types of alimony in Florida. These are Bridge the Gap, Rehabilitative, Durational, and Permanent.
To be legally married in Florida, both parties must have ‘capacity,’ that is, the ability to voluntarily and knowledgeably enter into an ordinary commercial contract. Also in Florida, currently, the parties must be of opposite genders (as of 2010, five other states and Washington, D.C., allow gay marriage, and ten other states allow civil unions).
An antenuptial agreement is an agreement entered into by two people who are planning to marry. These agreements are sometimes referred to as ‘prenuptial agreements’ or ‘premarital agreements.” Whatever the terminology used, it refers to something done before the marriage. Generally, these are planning documents about economics, in case the marriage is a failure. This might seem pessimistic to some, but the reality is that it just makes good sense in an uncertain world. Studies vary, but all indications are that nearly half, if not slightly more, of all marriages will end in divorce.
I imagine that some time in the past a handshake was a contract. But since it is hard for a judge to know exactly what was agreed to if there is a lawsuit, handshakes gave way to written contracts. As such contracts are nothing more than written promises. And since on occasion it is hard, if not impossible for one party to a contract to perform as agreed in the contract, the parties can agree to amend the contract. In mortgage foreclosures an amendment to the contract is a loan modification.