Divorcing couples are generally encouraged to explore settlements out of court where issues such as child support, alimony, asset division, and timesharing or parenting can be resolved amicably with the help of attorneys. But in high conflict situations when parties are unable to agree on issues arising from a divorce, the unresolved issues must undergo litigation where a court shall make a decision based on evidence.
Florida family law provides guidelines or factors that a court may consider in determining specific issues such as child support, alimony, and child custody.
Child support: Several factors are weighed before a court can arrive at a regular amount and the terms of support. These factors include:
- Age of the child
- Needs of the child
- Standard of living
- Financial capacity of each parent
- Amount of time that a child spends with either parent
Alimony: The court must also consider circumstances such as the couple’s standard of living before marriage, the duration of the marriage, the age of each party, earning capacities of each, the financial resources of each party, the need of the person receiving alimony, sources of income available to each party, and other relevant factors.
Award Must Be Based on Evidence
Both child and spousal support will bear a significant impact on the future lives of children and the separating couple. Any award ordering the payment of child support and alimony must be based on competent and substantial evidence. Thus, in a recent case decided by a Florida appellate court, the court ruled that an alimony award should not exceed the spouse’s need, which factor must be supported by competent substantial evidence.
In the same case, the court also corrected the trial court’s award by applying it retroactively to the date when the child’s parents were no longer living together in the same household as could be established by evidence.
Role of Divorce Attorney
If you are facing a tough decision to separate or file for divorce, it’s extremely important to discuss matters of child support and alimony first with an experienced divorce attorney. Your lawyer can examine your situation and sort all the legal issues, and provide advice and direction on your next legal steps. More importantly, your attorney must be prepared to litigate and present all evidence necessary to obtain a favorable outcome in your case.
Whether you’re in Clearwater, Palm Harbor, or New Port Richey, Florida, the Law Firm for Family Law headed by Gary E. Williams can help you all throughout the divorce proceedings. As one of only 18 Board Certified Experts in Marital and Family Law in Pinellas County, lawyer Gary E. Williams has proven experience in handling divorce cases and all the complicated issues relating to dissolutions of marriages.
We encourage you to call us today at (727) 531-8737 to learn more about how we can help you.