How is Alimony Calculated?

Any divorce represents a significant change in the lives of you and your former spouse. One of the common shifts you can expect will be financial in nature. Particularly if one of you is the primary breadwinner of the family, the other may be concerned about their ability to continue living a life of the standard you’ve become used to.

This is where alimony comes into play. The courts can direct one party to make regular payments to the other for a period of time to mitigate hardships. However, it’s important to work with an attorney experienced in representing men in Florida to make certain any amount of alimony allocation is fair.

So, how is alimony calculated? Let’s take a closer look at the calculation and what considerations are made.

The Simple Calculation

In general, attorneys and courts work on the basis of a guideline equation when deciding how alimony is calculated. This is essentially 30% of the paying party’s gross annual income minus 20% of the payee party’s gross annual income.

Nevertheless, while this can provide you with a rough idea of the amount of alimony to be paid, it’s far from cut-and-dried. There are other factors that will be taken into consideration when your attorneys and the courts allocate spousal support. It’s important to gain a full understanding of these in order for you and your attorney to prepare your representations and negotiations accordingly.

Establishing Need and Ability

To establish how alimony is calculated, it’s important to first look at why alimony might be awarded. This is because there isn’t a standard amount of alimony a court is likely to award. It is a nuanced situation, with various contributing factors to bear in mind. This is why it is so important for men in Florida to collaborate with experienced family law attorneys. Professionals can help you to ensure the amount of alimony you’re paying is fair or that the amount you’re awarded represents the financial challenges you face. The initial considerations for alimony payments usually fall into the following two categories:


Alimony isn’t just awarded as standard. One party must be able to demonstrate that they genuinely need spousal support from the other. At the most basic level, a party can assert their need for alimony on the basis that they have been primarily reliant on their former spouse’s income throughout the marriage. The courts will want to ensure that neither party, nor any children involved, has to go without food, accommodation, and other essentials. They are also likely to want to minimize the potential for a party to claim welfare as a result of the break.

That said, the assertion of need can be pushed further than this minimum standard. The requirement for alimony might be demonstrated by the expectation to achieve a certain standard of living that both parties have become used to over the course of the marriage. There could also be the new need for one spouse to retrain in order to now enter the workforce, which may require a certain amount of support.

Ability to pay

The courts won’t simply award alimony on the basis that one party has expressed a need for it. The other consideration is whether the other spouse is able to pay alimony. Even if the paying party has a relatively high level of income, other components such as children’s school fees, business obligations, and debts may mean that paying alimony could leave one party in a worse position than the other if they were expected to pay alimony.

Therefore, this is something taken into consideration both in determining whether alimony is to be paid at all and the amount of alimony being awarded. Whether you’re seeking spousal support or being pursued for it, this is an element men need to work closely with their attorneys on. Unless there is a full and accurate representation of both parties’ gross income and relative responsibilities, there is scope for abuse and hardship.

Elements Taken into Account

While there is the aforementioned guideline to how alimony is calculated, there are other aspects to consider. There will usually be a discovery process in which respective attorneys gather and review information that might affect the amount of alimony awarded. These can be factors that help determine the need for alimony, the extent that might be awarded, or the length of time expected to pay. Whether men in Florida are seeking or paying alimony, the following elements are among those taken into account:

Standard of living

One of the first components for review is the standard of living that has been achieved for both parties across the course of the marriage. This isn’t the same as saying that the courts will necessarily calculate alimony on the basis of one party simply being used to having access to a large amount of funds. There will be an examination of what tangible and psychological hardships either party is likely to experience as a result of the sudden drop in income. This may include the effect on health elements, employment, recreation, and childcare among others. There will also be the consideration that both parties might be reasonably expected to experience a drop in standard of living as a result of now providing for two households rather than one.

Length of marriage

How long a couple has been married for is a key component for calculating alimony. This determines whether alimony is to be paid at all, the amount to be paid, and for how long it is to be provided. In most cases, marriages lasting less than 7 years are unlikely to be subject to significant amounts of alimony and this will usually only be awarded on a temporary basis. Moderate marriages — lasting between 7 and 17 years — are more likely to see a greater amount and duration of alimony. Anything over 17 years may well be considered for large value, permanent forms of alimony.

Respective contributions

In some circumstances, one party will be the primary breadwinner for the couple. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this person has to pay alimony. There also needs to be some evidence that the other party was also contributing in some way to a fair and equitable partnership. Therefore, the courts may consider contributions such as childcare, homemaking, and emotional support in determining the right to receive alimony and how much must be paid.

Earning capacity

One of the most important considerations for calculating alimony is the earning capacity of both parties. The aforementioned equation is, in most cases, based primarily on how much yearly income each party brings in. This could be in the form of employment income. It also takes into account the income received from investments or businesses owned. In some instances, the appreciation of assets can be considered as income. Each party’s respective attorneys and the courts will seek to establish whether the level of income makes alimony necessary and the amount paid. This can also affect the length of time alimony may be paid, as the potential for the receiving party to raise their individual income in the near future will affect the need for alimony to be paid.

Call The Family Law Attorneys Men Trust (813) 652-0598

In Law We Trust Divorce and Family Lawyers is a premier firm of divorce lawyers representing men in divorce proceedings. Our team of experienced professionals can help you to navigate the challenges surrounding alimony provisions whether your ex is seeing payments or you require financial support. We have the knowledge and skills that give our clients the confidence to know they can expect fair and dedicated handling of their cases in the Florida family court system. Call us today and get the proper representation men need and deserve.

Tampa’s Family Lawyer For Men
Play Video
Call Now Button

Need Divorce Advice?