What does my standard of living during the marriage have to do with how alimony is determined?

The standard of living exemplified during the marriage is very important to the process of determining the amount of an alimony award. Standard of living is the best means to establish the financial needs of the receiving party and the financial ability of the paying party. An alimony award should not be limited to the amount of bare minimal need, but rather should provide enough support for the receiving party to “maintain his/herself in the style to which he/she is accustomed.” Angelides v. Angelides, 466 So.2d 1198,1199 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985). However, if it is shown that the parties lived beyond their means throughout the duration of the marriage, the payer spouse should not be expected to make alimony payments beyond his/her means. Determining financial need and ability in the case of high income marriages is a very complicated area of Florida divorce law. It is common for a attorneys to call in forensic accountants and/or economists to analyze financial records and determine the standard of living of the marriage. If the payer’s income is too low at the time of the divorce to support the standard of living shown during the marriage, the court may order a reservation of jurisdiction. This grants the court the ability to modify the alimony payments later on if the payer’s income should rise. If the standard of living exemplified during the marriage required the assistance of non-marital assets, the court may also consider said non-marital assets when determining alimony payments.

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