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Alimony Myths and the Reality

"You never realize how short a month is until you pay alimony." -John Barrymore

A few large misconceptions surround the concept of alimony, and the reality is quite different from the presumptions. The first presumption is that alimony will be awarded in every divorce. Closely tied to that is the second presumption that the wife in a divorce proceeding will be the recipient spouse of alimony regardless of who was the primary earner in the marriage.

I am here today to put both of these myths to rest.

A dissolution of marriage, or better known as a divorce case, will include within its final judgment the division of marital assets, debts, and liabilities. Whether through settlement by the parties or through the awarding by the court, the terms of a divorce will likely include forms of spousal support, with alimony being the most well-known.

However, alimony is not guaranteed in every divorce case, and can even be waived altogether by the parties if they so agree in the hopes of reaching a settlement. Alimony claims come in many forms, with the most well-known variant being permanent alimony. This kind of alimony is typically known for the horror stories of the ex-spouse being trapped by large sums of alimony payments for years after the finality of the divorce. While this can and does happen, this is not generally the norm and only applies when a very specific set of facts come before the court.

Length of marriage has a large role to play when awarding alimony, so the myth that your spouse will garner permanent alimony from you after 6 months of marriage is unfounded and false. This length of the marriage, known as a short-term marriage in Florida, would be better suited for one of the non-permanent claims for alimony. However, no alimony claim is guaranteed so you will need to meet with a family & marital law attorney in order to have them analyze your specific case.

The second myth is that alimony is always awarded to the wife. This is false. The sex of the spouse has no bearing on the award of alimony in and of itself since the awarding of alimony is based on a totality of the circumstances test that looks to the entire financial picture of the spouses and their respective positions during the marriage and what will come after the marriage. So have no fear, whether you are the husband or the wife in a divorce, your claim or defense to an alimony award will be judged on many elements that don't require you to be the husband or the wife.

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