Alimony, Spousal Support, & Dividing Marital Property During a Divorce


  • Author Grant Gisondo
  • Published December 26, 2020
  • Word count 530

Two of the most fought over and problematic aspects of a divorce are alimony, now termed spousal support, and marital property division. Marital property is all property, real and personal, that is gained following the marriage. Each state has its own set of guidelines found in the state’s statutes regarding these issues, so when wanting to find information, be sure you are looking at the statutes for your state of residence. Let’s take a look at how each of these issues is handled.

Dividing Marital Property: Particularly important when finding out about the division of marital property and marital debts is how each state views the division. Some states have equal distribution, and some states have equitable distribution. While each method has similarities, there are distinct differences. In an equal distribution state, including Washington, Nevada, California, Arizona, Texas, Wisconsin, Louisiana, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Oregon (In Alaska, a couple can choose either method), marital property is divided equally. In an equitable distribution state, the statement “fair but not necessarily equal” is how a judge will view distribution. Unless a couple can decide in mediation how their marital assets and debts will be equitably divided, a judge will take into consideration the evidence and decide for them, often make upsetting decisions. For example, a judge could decide the wife gets the golf cart and the husband the canoe when just the reverse would be what the parties wanted.

Alimony, spousal support: Either party is entitled to be considered the recipient of alimony. Again, couples can decide for themselves at mediation, or a judge will make the decision for them. Considerations, including income, expenses, length of the marriage, health, job potential, and the ability to earn an income will be taken into account. There are several different types of alimony. In Florida, for example, there are six types of alimony, Temporary, Permeant, Lump Sum, Bridge-the-gap, Rehabilitative, and Durational. Each type has its own guidelines for how the money will be used, to who it will be given, and for how long the alimony will stay in effect. The longer the marriage will usually make a significant difference in what type of alimony is awarded and for how long. Also, if one party, usually the wife, has been a “stay at home spouse” or one spouse worked to provide an education or build a business for the other, there will be a strong likelihood for an award of alimony.

Going through a divorce is rarely simple, and usually, it is best to seek the guidance of a professional Family Law attorney. Many people complain about the cost of legal defense. Still, if taken in proportion to the financial gain obtained in a final outcome, it is almost always more beneficial to have legal representation. A knowledgeable Family Law attorney will know the best way to try to make mediation work. He or she will know the latest guidelines on issues such as alimony and equitable distribution, as well as how to separate marital property from the non-marital property. In most instances, a party cannot return to court to reverse an order, so it is wise to have professional input and representation.

The Law offices of Grant J. Gisondo. P.A. is a family law firm in Palm Beach Gardens, FL specialized in divorce, child and spousal support, child custody, Prenuptial Agreements, Bankruptcy, Chapters 7 And 13, Postnuptial Agreements and more. Call us for a consultation at (561) 530-4568.

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