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How Is Alimony Calculated in Florida?


Alimony payments can be a substantial cost or income, depending on whether you’re an alimony payer or recipient. When alimony is calculated in Florida, divorce law sets out a simple guideline on alimony amounts using a percentage of the income of the higher-earning member of a divorcing couple to generate a maximum payment size. The courts can also consider a number of other factors, including the standard of living the couple had while married, to determine whether to adjust this starting amount. Determining how long alimony payments will continue is more complicated, and is based on the length of the marriage. A financial advisor can help you design a budget that will allow you to make required payments or make the best use of alimony receipts.

Overview of How Alimony Works

When a married couple divorces, courts sometimes order the party with the higher income to pay alimony, a transfer of funds designed to help the lower-earning former spouse continue to pay their bills after the divorce is final. While every state’s divorce laws provide for alimony, a wide variety of methods exist for determining the amount and duration of alimony payments.

In 2023, Florida enacted significant changes to its law on alimony, which the state generally refers to as spousal support. Spousal maintenance is another term for alimony in some jurisdictions. One major change was that Florida ended the practice of awarding permanent, lifelong alimony. It also limited the duration and amount of alimony awards and changed the formula used to calculate alimony in Florida.

How Alimony Is Calculated in Florida

How alimony is calculated in Florida differs from other states.

Before Florida awards alimony, one party has to request it. The other person may agree to the request, including the amount and duration of the payment. If no agreement can be reached, the requester will have to establish in writing and in detail that they need financial support and that the other person can provide it. This involves presenting information about both parties’ incomes and earning abilities, assets, ages, health status and responsibilities for minor children, as well as the standard of living they had while married.

If the court agrees that alimony is appropriate, the maximum amount is set at 35% of the difference between the parties’ net incomes. Net income is gross income minus deductions for federal, state and local taxes, union dues, insurance premiums, retirement contributions and child support payments. Here’s how the calculation looks if someone who makes $2,000 in monthly net income requests alimony from someone with $10,000 in monthly net income.

 Monthly income
Alimony payer$10,000
Alimony requester$2,000
Maximum alimony amount$2,800

From this starting amount, the court may modify the payment based on several factors, including:

  • Marriage duration
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Each party’s anticipated needs after divorce
  • Age, health and emotional condition of each party
  • Each party’s ability to provide for their needs including, in the payer’s case, to make the alimony payments
  • Income, including salary and other resources of each party
  • How and how much each party contributed to the marriage including child care, homemaking and other contributions
  • Minor children and how much responsibility each party has for their needs
  • Other factors the court may choose to consider, including cost of living and the ability to pay for retirement

How Duration of Florida Alimony Is Calculated

When deciding how alimony is calculated in Florida, in particular how long the alimony payments will continue, the state sets the maximum length of time based on how long the marriage lasted. Here’s how marriage length relates to the maximum duration of alimony payments:

Length of marriageMaximum alimony duration
Under three yearsNo entitlement to alimony
Three years to 10 years50% of marriage length
10 years to 20 years60% of marriage length
20 years or longer75% of marriage length

For example, if a couple was married for 15 years, the maximum duration of alimony would be 15 years times 60%, or nine years.

More on Florida Alimony

Courts can vary from the guidelines if it’s determined that the result would be inequitable to either party. There are limits to the variation allowed, however. For instance, alimony cannot be required for longer than the marriage lasted.

Alimony payers can request a modification of the payment amounts if there is a change in circumstances, such as an increase or decrease in their earnings. It’s uncommon for the duration of the payments to change, although it can happen if the court decides there is clear and convincing evidence supporting a change, such as the alimony recipient becoming disabled.

Bottom Line

An alimony payment as a couple determines how alimony is calculated in Florida.

Florida alimony law provides for recipients to get no more than 35% of the payer’s net income. This amount may be adjusted downward based on the court’s consideration of a number of factors including both parties’ income and earning capacity, age, health and need to provide for minor children. The duration of alimony depends mostly on the length of the marriage, with marriages under three years not qualifying for alimony.

Alimony Tips

  • Whether you’re paying or receiving alimony, a financial advisor can help you develop a budget. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Use SmartAsset’s Florida paycheck calculator to find out what your take-home pay will be after federal, state and local taxes.

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