Calculation of alimony was recently discussed by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Reyes v. Fernandez. The court stated that permanent alimony is intended to provide for the needs and the necessities of life of the former spouse, as they were established during the course of their marriage. The two primary factors are the needs of the recipient spouse and the ability of the payor to provide the required funds.
In an alimony case, a trial court may require a paying spouse to maintain life insurance under certain circumstances. In order for a court to require a paying spouse to maintain life insurance, the trial court must find that the insurance is available, it must state the cost of the policy, and it must determine the that paying spouse has the ability to pay for the cost of the insurance. The amount of the insurance required must be commensurate with the amount of the support obligation. Finally, in order to require a paying spouse to maintain life insurance to secure an alimony obligation, there must be "special circumstances" that justify this requirement. These special circumstances include situations where the recipient spouse would be left in severe financial condition after the death of the paying spouse due to his or her poor health, age, or lack of employment potential.
In a recently decided alimony case captioned Jimenez v. Jimenez, the Florida Court of Appeal stated that in reaching a decision concerning alimony, a trial court is required to consider every one of the factors set forth in the Florida Statutes. In deciding whether or not to award alimony, a trial court is required to decide whether one of the parties has the ability to pay alimony and whether the other party has the need for alimony. If a court determines that one party has the ability to pay alimony and that the other party has the need for alimony, the court is required to consider all of the following ten factors. First, the standard of living established by the parties during the marriage. Second, the length of the marriage. Third, the physical and emotional condition of each of the parties and the age of the parties. Fourth, each parties assets and liabilities. Fifth, the parties' earning capacities and the need for additional training and education. Sixth, each of the parties' contribution to the marriage. Seventh, the need to stay home with any minor children. Eighth, the tax consequences of an award of alimony. Ninth, each parties' sources of income from employment or investments. Tenth, any other factor that the court considers is necessary to reach a fair and just resolution of the matter.