A St. Petersburg Alimony Attorney For Men That You Can Trust
The end of a marriage can be a difficult time. You may have spent years with your former spouse, building your relationship and mutual support for one another. When you make the decision to divorce, there can often be significant disruption to the vital support systems one or both of you have previously relied upon.
As such, alimony and spousal support can be a common feature of the divorce process. Unfortunately, St. Petersburg men can find they’re not always fairly treated when it comes to making arrangements for this. The Florida family court system has a reputation for favoring women, particularly when children are involved, in making rulings on some elements of divorce agreements. You naturally want a fair outcome to your divorce, whether this is arranging to continue support for your spouse for a time or gaining some element of support from them.
This means that it is vital to work with a family lawyer that has experience handling alimony and spousal support arrangements in the St. Petersburg area. In Law We Trust Divorce and Family Lawyers should be your first point of contact. Since 2014, the law firm of In Law We Trust Divorce and Family Lawyers, has been annually selected by the National Trial Lawyers of America as one of the Top 40 under 40 in Florida. We’ve also been a featured member of The National Academy of Family Law Attorneys since 2019, alongside being included in Super Lawyers each year since 2017. With our firm in your corner, you benefit from our dedication to helping divorcing men in St. Petersburg to reach fair settlements.
What Should You Know About Alimony and Spousal Support?
In essence, alimony and spousal support mean the same thing. It is intended to ensure that neither party experiences an unfair financial or lifestyle disadvantage as a result of the divorce. This is initially dealt with in the distribution of marital assets and liabilities. Under the Florida divorce legislation, there is an expectation to arrange an equitable split of these. This includes any finances, property, and even business elements gained or developed during the course of the marriage. However, if either spouse’s needs aren’t served by this distribution, the courts may seek to award alimony.
In some instances these may be perfectly legitimate disagreements between what each party considers to be fair. However, the situation isn’t always quite this straightforward. There may be elements of greed involved, in which your spouse may be seeking a larger amount of your shared or personal assets than they’re entitled to. It’s also not uncommon for a contested divorce to be a form of revenge. Your spouse may be trying to make the divorce process as difficult and expensive for you as possible as a form of punishment for the divorce or the circumstances that led to it. This can take a range of forms, such as:
One party might require a certain amount of spousal support during the divorce process. In this instance the attorney on either side can petition the court for temporary relief. This may also be determined by mutual agreement between the parties. Usually this form of alimony ends once the divorce is finalized.
In some instances, one party may have been entirely dependent on their spouse for the majority of their marriage. Their attorney may seek to establish that this party can no longer maintain the standard of life to which they’ve become accustomed without the financial support of the other. In this instance, the Florida courts can award permanent alimony. The requirement for alimony payments only terminates upon the death of either party.
This is usually the most common approach to awarding alimony payments. It’s intended to service short term marriages (those of under 7 years) and medium-length marriages (17 years or less). The court determines a reasonable length of time that one party should make spousal support payments to the other, with the arrangement terminating entirely at the end of this period. It’s worth noting that the amount of time one party must pay alimony in these instances can’t be longer than that of the marriage.
There will be times at which the court or the parties involved agree that a long-term alimony situation isn’t appropriate. However, there can be an agreement that alimony should be paid in order to assist one party in becoming less dependent on their former spouse’s income. As such, rehabilitative alimony can be paid to fund a spouse through the process of gaining a formal education, retraining, or in some instance starting their own business.
Understanding the Process
Arranging alimony or spousal support usually forms part of most divorces in Florida. This starts simply enough with your family law attorney filing for a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The initial paperwork will often include details of what the filing spouse expects to receive as part of the divorce settlement. This will include an outline of any assets they feel they’re entitled to, the alimony payments they feel they should receive, and the needs that are related to this.
After divorce papers have been served on the non-filing spouse, they and their attorney should review these papers thoroughly. In some instances, their requests for alimony and spousal support may be perfectly reasonable. In this case, the result tends to be a simple and relatively speedy uncontested divorce. However, it’s important to work with an experienced family lawyer to understand whether the alimony expectations are reasonable and fair before agreeing to these.
If disagreements on alimony result in a contested divorce, however, the next step is a discovery process. This involves the attorneys of both parties investigating the circumstances and gathering evidence to support their respective clients’ positions. What follows is usually a period of mediation, during which parties and their respective lawyers aim to reach a mutual agreement on alimony amounts. If this is unsuccessful, the situation is taken to court, where both parties can make representations related to their side of the issue and the judge will determine the final ruling on alimony.
There are various factors the court will take into account when determining the need and amount of alimony. These include
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s finances
- The future earning capabilities of both spouses
- The financial, practical, and emotional impact the dissolution of marriage has
- Expenses related to maintaining the current standard of living
- Whether either party currently cohabitates with another person
- Health issues
After the agreement has been reached there are also factors the court can utilize to adjust or end alimony payments. These include:
- The receiving party’s marriage to a new partner
- Changes in employment status
- Changes in the financial status of the receiving party (e.g., if they receive a large inheritance, alimony may be terminated)
The number of factors that can influence alimony can make the process especially complex. As such, it is vital to collaborate with a dedicated and experienced family law attorney. They can help you to establish what a fair rate of alimony is likely to be and represent your reasons for this in both mediation and in court.
What if Alimony or Spousal Support isn’t Paid?
When alimony is agreed in divorce proceedings, this represents a legally binding obligation to pay. Unfortunately, you may find that your ex fails to pay you the amounts settled. This may be through spite or due to a genuine difficulty they’re having.
In either case, it’s important to take immediate and formal action to ensure you aren’t unnecessarily burdened by their actions. Your lawyer will be able to send an official notice to them reminding them of their obligations. If needed, they can also petition the court to arrange enforcement. If your ex still fails to pay voluntarily, the court can arrange measures such as wage garnishment and seizure of assets. In severe cases, your ex can be found in contempt of court and get fines or jail time.
Spousal Support for Husbands in St. Petersburg, FL
Alimony and spousal support are key elements of the divorce process. Depending on the circumstances, you may be the recipient or the paying party. In either case, it’s important to ensure that the approach to arranging alimony is fair. In Law We Trust Divorce and Family Lawyers has significant experience in representing men during spousal support cases in St. Petersburg, FL. We are dedicated to ensuring you receive the most appropriate legal counsel and strongest representation whether your divorce is resolved amicably or it has to go to court.