If you are going through a divorce in Florida, there are a lot of factors to consider. This includes the division of assets, the division of debts, and resolving child custody issues. When you are going through a divorce, there is a possibility that money is going to continue to change hands even after the divorce is finalized.
The most common situations where money continues to be paid post-divorce are alimony and child support. It is important for you to understand the difference so that your rights can be adequately protected throughout your divorce proceedings.
The first type of payment that may be involved is called alimony. Importantly, alimony is not child support. Instead, alimony is a payment that one spouse pays to the other spouse to compensate for a financial need and that the paying spouse has the ability to pay. There are multiple types of alimony payments, which include:
In some situations, the spouses can agree on the amount of alimony and duration. In other situations, each spouse will present his or her side of the story in court and let the court decide. There are also situations where lawyers can negotiate on behalf of each spouse and come to an agreement. It might also be helpful to consult with a trained accountant before making decisions regarding alimony payments.
The other type of possible payment is called child support. In Florida, child support is usually calculated using a specific formula. This formula usually includes, but is not limited to, the net income of each parent, the number of overnights the child is going to spend with each parent, the cost of a child's health insurance, and the cost of child care.
Then, the court looks at how many overnights each individual parent will have. In some cases, child support may not be ordered at all. In other situations, the court may order one parent to pay child support to the other parent for a predetermined amount of time. Typically, this is until the child reaches the age of eighteen (18), however, there are some specific exceptions. Additionally, if child support is order for more than one child then child support can be modified as each child turns eighteen.
Child support is outlined specifically in Florida Statutes 61.30.
One of the most common questions that people have regarding the divorce process is whether or not child support and alimony payments can be adjusted at a later date.
The answer is usually, yes, both alimony and child support can be modified at a later date after divorce. Typically, when the divorce agreement is finalized, it usually specifies whether or not alimony payments or child support payments are modifiable. On the other hand, if one spouse has a significant, unanticipated, martial, and permanent change in circumstances, then that spouse may seek a modification of alimony, child support, or both.
For example, one spouse may end up landing a great job and decide that he or she does not require alimony payments anymore. In this situation, the parties may agree that alimony payments are no longer needed and can make a written modification to their divorce final judgment, which would stop the payment of alimony.
On the other hand, it is also possible that one spouse may lose his or her job or suffer a major medical expense. In this situation, his or her financial situation may change drastically. In this case, the payments might need to be adjusted. Finally, it is also possible that alimony payments and child support payments have a predetermined date on which they cease. For example, once the child turns 18, child support may no longer be necessary.
No matter how amicable a divorce may seem, it is always important to enlist the help of a trained divorce attorney. That way, issues such as alimony and child support can be handled as smoothly as possible. Schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Leonard R. Ross today to learn about your options.