The income that a judge considers when awarding alimony

| May 10, 2019 | Alimony

A husband or wife who puts their career on the back burner to take care of the home or children during their marriage will often request alimony from the other. In Florida, there are various types of spousal support ranging from temporary to something more permanent. There are several factors that a judge takes into account when making alimony awards. Income is one of these.

Earned income is often what judges will ask about most before rendering any decision. They’ll want to know what a prospective paying spouse’s annual salary is. They’ll also inquire as to whether they’re eligible for deferred compensation, employment perks, signing or performance bonuses, partnership distributions or carried interest. They’ll likely want to know if their company contributes to their retirement account too.

The judge will likely start by requesting to see any financial disclosures you’ve filed as part of your request for a divorce. They’ll also ask to see your most recent federal tax return. If the income that’s disclosed on those forms falls short in covering your expenses, then a judge will want to understand how you afforded a lifestyle that’s beyond your means.

If a judge decides that a spouse was capable of garnering a higher income than what they actually made, then they may base any alimony award off that amount instead. They also may consider what they made previously, especially if their job was recently downgraded.

A judge may additionally take any sizeable gifts that the recipient spouse made as potential income for determining what support awards should be. This means that a judge would consider any stay-at-home spouse’s monthly stipend as their income and reduce how much alimony that they award to them.

When making decisions about awarding alimony, judges will often take an average of the income a spouse earned across a few years instead of what they brought most recently. Husbands and wives who are planning to get divorced may benefit from strategically planning when they divorce. This will ensure that a judge will more adequately assess their income.

If you’re not strategic about when you divorce, then you run the risk of your spouse seeking a modification on down the line. If you can offer a more generous division of assets, then you may be able to avoid this. An alimony attorney can help you negotiate a settlement in your own Kissimmee divorce case.

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