The subject of alimony can be a difficult one, and most men and women have very different opinions on it. Some believe that alimony is a thing of the past; others (mostly women) believe that it is still necessary, even in today’s day and age.
Regardless of popular beliefs, alimony is still a popular discussion during many divorce proceedings. However, the laws around alimony have changed, particularly in the State of Florida.
In this article, we will discuss what alimony is, where it came from, and how the laws have changed.
Check out our Alimony in Florida Infographic.
Alimony: Then and Now
Alimony was originally created for divorced men to continue to provide financial support for their ex-wives. This was because women were often low- or lower-income earners, or who didn’t have any income at all as most had the sole responsibility of caring for and raising children.
Of course, this traditional family dynamic has changed over the years. More marriages and partnerships involve two spouses or partners who both have jobs and contribute financially to the household. In the 1960s, 25 percent of divorce settlements included alimony orders. In 2020, only 10 percent of divorces include alimony requests.
Although women are still the primary alimony recipients, it isn’t uncommon for men to request alimony today. The number of men who receive alimony has also increased. In fact, in 2010, 3 percent of the 400,000 alimony recipients in the United States were men.
Alimony in 2020
Although the alimony system may be outdated, the United States is slowly catching up. In fact, in January 2019, President Trump updated the tax laws for all divorces finalized after January 1st, 2019. The new law stipulates that alimony recipients will no longer have to report alimony payments as taxable income.
This is great news for alimony recipients, however, not necessary for those who must make alimony payments… Alimony payers are no longer able to report alimony payments, which could be a costly change. Alimony payments that do not meet the formal tax-law definition of alimony are typically seen as child support payments or payments related to equitable distribution. This could mean that alimony payers aren’t able to claim these payments as personal expenses.
How Alimony in Florida is Calculated
Alimony in Florida is calculated based upon an individual’s need and another individual’s ability to pay.
Although there is no set formula or rule for calculating alimony in Florida, this formula is often used:
30% of the payer’s gross annual income
— 20% of the payee’s gross annual income
= ESTIMATED ALIMONY AMOUNT
In addition to looking at finances, the Court looks at whether the spouse requesting alimony has a legitimate financial need, and then determines if the other spouse has the ability to satisfy, all or part, of that need. The Court also considers the length of the marriage and what type of alimony is being requested.