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What factors can hurt someone’s chances of receiving alimony or spousal support?

  • By: Andrew Merlo
  • Published: October 15, 2018

When awarding alimony, the first issue a judge must consider is: Does the person requesting financial support NEED the alimony? Assuming the person requesting alimony can convince the judge they truly NEED financial assistance from the other party, then the next issue the judge must decide is: How much ABILITY TO PAY does that person have to pay the other person alimony?

If the person requesting alimony has sufficient independent income to meet their needs, then there will not be a need for alimony. So, you will decrease your chance of being awarded alimony if you do anything to decrease your need. For example, if you never worked during the entire marriage and then you get a job while the divorce is going on, theoretically your need will be reduced.

In general, one side’s bad behavior will not affect entitlement to alimony. As a no-fault state, adultery is only relevant in Florida if there is waste of marital assets on the paramour. If you and I are married and I buy my girlfriend a diamond Tiara with our retirement savings, I’ve wasted our retirement savings on my paramour, and you, as my wife, would have the right to say, “That’s waste, I want my half back.” It’s a possibility, but it’s very rare. I don’t want to turn anyone away by saying it’s not worth it, but I would rather talk on an individual level about it. Claiming marital waste is a battle and it’s tough to prevail, but I have been successful in claiming it. As far as equitable distribution and marital waste, adultery may be relevant. As far as alimony goes, it doesn’t matter; the judge will not want to get into the he-said-she-said discussion because it doesn’t matter when evaluating need and ability.

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