Q: I’ve been married for 10 years, and I’ve been a stay-at-home Mom for 8 years. We have 2 children. I My Husband has been the breadwinner in the family our entire marriage, making $180,000 a year. Will I get alimony when I get divorced? If so, how much and for how long? Is that separate from child support?

A: In Florida, alimony is an issue to be determined in every divorce case. First, one spouse must have a need for alimony to meet their ordinary expenses. If there is no need, then no alimony will be awarded. But based on your description, you have a need. Without support from your soon-to-be ex-husband, you will not have enough money to make ends meet. Every able-bodied person is presumed to be able to earn at least full-time minimum wage income, but let’s assume that wouldn’t be enough to meet all your expenses. Once need is established, we turn to the second question: does the other spouse have the financial ability to pay alimony and still have enough money to pay their own ordinary expenses? Based on his income, the answer is yes, he can pay you alimony and still have enough money to meet his own needs.

How much he will have to pay is not based on any formula, unlike child support. It is quite literally based on your need balanced against his ability to pay. The full financial picture including all income and all expenses, assets, and liabilities, must be examined and analyzed to fully answer the question as to the amount. How long is based on the length of your marriage. A 10-year marriage falls in the durational alimony category, meaning that you are likely to receive alimony for somewhere between two years and a maximum of ten years, depending on the specific facts of your case. You can reasonably expect to get no less than half the length of the marriage.

Child support can only be calculated after alimony is determined, since alimony changes the incomes of both spouses. Child support is based on a formula that includes as variables the net incomes of both parties, health insurance premium costs of the children, and the time-sharing schedule.

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