Calculating Alimony in Light of Need
Florida Statute 61.08 is a comprehensive statute which sets forth the types of alimony, the entitlement to alimony and methods for determining alimony in the State of Florida. Specifically, this statute provides that the Court can award: permanent, periodic alimony (monthly payments for life or until a substantial change in circumstances); rehabilitative alimony (payments designed to allow a spouse to become self-supporting on his or her own; durational alimony (payments for a specified period of time; and, bridge the gap alimony (alimony designed to smooth the transition from married to single status.
Each of the types of alimony permitted by § 61.08 is premised on the idea that it will fulfill the payee’s need while falling within the payor’s ability to pay. Therefore, regardless of the type of alimony awarded, the Court does not have the authority to grant an amount of alimony which is in excess of a payee’s need. This would be inconsistent with the overarching purpose of alimony and the public policy set forth by the legislature.
This concept is illustrated in the case of Bikowitz v. Bikowitz from the Second District Court of Appeal. In this case, the Former Wife had total needs of $ 8,850 per month. She earned $ 2,500 and was awarded $ 2,350 in durational alimony leaving her with a deficit of $ 4,000 per month. In light of the $ 4,000 deficit, the Trial Court erred by providing $ 5,000 per month in bridge-the-gap alimony. Doing so, according to the Second District, exceeded her monthly needs and was therefore inconsistent with the purpose and scope of the alimony provisions set forth in § 61.08.
Litigation over alimony can be a complicated procedure with long-lasting ramifications for both the payor and the payee. In these circumstances, it is important to have an experienced divorce lawyer who can be trusted to provide the court with a thorough understanding of the facts and circumstances of your case. The members of the Ferraro Law Group have been litigating divorce and alimony cases in Stuart, Florida and throughout the Treasure Coast for more than thirty years.