Get Help Understanding Your Rights Concerning Alimony And Child Support Payments

When it comes to child support and alimony, it often seems like there is not enough money to go around. Financial matters can transform a peaceful divorce into a bitter war. At The Murphy Law Group, we educate our clients on how support impacts their financial picture, both now and in the future.

Our initial goal is to find out your financial expectations in receiving or paying support, whether child support or alimony. From there, we conduct a detailed analysis by evaluating various financial records and tax records.

No one should be paying more than he or she reasonably can, nor should someone receive more than he or she is entitled to under the law.

Conversely, every spouse and child is entitled to be adequately supported, and attorney Stephanie Murphy strives to ensure that no spouse or child is short-changed.

Alimony Orders In Florida

While issues surrounding spousal maintenance, also called alimony, often become acrimonious during divorce proceedings, it has been our experience that these matters can be resolved in ways that benefit both parties.

In Florida, the award of alimony is not automatic. However, the courts recognize that there are many situations in which one spouse is not able to support him or herself, or has given up employment or education opportunities for the benefit of the marriage or to raise children.

Generally speaking, when one of the parties to the divorce has significantly greater income than the other, or when one of the parties is financially dependent on the other, there will be some sort of alimony awarded. Depending on how long it takes the parties to become financially independent, alimony may last a short time or it may go on indefinitely.

Alimony Factors To Consider

Alimony is governed by the recently amended Florida Statutes and case law interpreting those statutes. Courts will generally look at two considerations:

  • The various statutory factors indicating whether a spouse is entitled to alimony, and if so, what kind of alimony is warranted.
  • The factors used to determine how much and how long a spouse may be entitled to alimony, with a focus on one spouse's need for alimony and the other spouse's ability to pay alimony.

Tax Implications

One important thing to understand about alimony is that it is generally considered income to the person who receives it, and it is generally deductible to the person paying it, even if they do not itemize tax deductions. These tax-related issues may factor into your decision to pursue or contest a maintenance or alimony award.

Stephanie Murphy can help you understand the legal and tax ramifications of your choice regarding alimony, possibly in conjunction with your accountant or even a forensic accountant if necessary. It's important to keep in mind that this is something that might be impacted by the tax reform bill. We at the Murphy Law Group are paying close attention to this legislation so we can keep our clients abreast on how this legislation could affect them. 

Child Support Orders In Florida

Like alimony, child support is governed by factors outlined in Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes. However, unlike alimony, child support is established pursuant to a numeric formula, with consideration of both spouses' incomes, certain expenses such as health insurance or child care, and the time sharing schedule established in your parenting plan. The result is a computer generated amount that is only as accurate as the information entered into the calculator.

Hardships can result, particularly when there is a dispute in the income or expenses.

After handling hundreds of family law cases, you can count on us to help you find practical solutions that work for all parties and either help you settle your child support or alimony case through mediation or obtain the relief you are entitled to through aggressive litigation at trial.

Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity doesn't just help fathers assert their parental rights and gain access to their children through custody and visitation orders; it also helps children get the financial support they need and deserve from both parents.

In Florida, there are three ways in which parents can establish paternity:

  • At the hospital — If the child's parents are married at the time of birth, the husband is presumed to be the father and paternity is automatically established. If the child's parents are not married, then both parents can establish paternity at the hospital.
  • Through legitimation or acknowledgement — If the mother is unmarried at the time of her child's birth, but later marries the child's father, then paternity can be established through the process of legitimation by applying for a marriage license. Unmarried parents may also establish paternity voluntarily by signing the Acknowledgement of Paternity form.
  • By a court order — This can be initiated by a judge or by the Florida Department of Revenue, which will review your case and order paternity testing on your behalf in court.

Stephanie Murphy can assist you through the entire paternity process, helping you understand your rights and what will come next at each step. Her focus on family and the best interests of the children will ensure you have a strong advocate in your corner who is truly seeking the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Contact Our Law Firm Today

As you enter this transitional time in your life, trust your child support and alimony issues to an experienced divorce attorney who cares. Call our Sarasota office at 941-328-8142 to schedule an initial consultation. Or, if you prefer, contact us by e-mail using our online submission form. For your convenience, we accept all major credit cards.