Is mediation mandatory in Florida divorce? Yes!
In the state of Florida, this is a mandatory step to be completed before a judge finalizes a divorce. Mediation is required to give the couple a chance to make decisions on assets, child support, and alimony before the court exercised its authority and decide for them! (the advantages of mediation).
Contrary to popular belief, alimony isn’t only available to women. Either spouse can request support. The Court will evaluate whether the requesting spouse needs help and whether the other spouse can pay. If the court finds the “need and ability” the judge will then assess the following factors:
Florida courts may also consider whether either spouse committed adultery during the marriage and how the affair impacted the couple’s marital funds. For example, if one spouse cheated and paid for an apartment, living expenses, or trips with a girlfriend or boyfriend, the court may factor in the spending when calculating alimony.
There is no formula for judges to use when deciding how much and what type of alimony is appropriate. In addition to the above factors, the court must also ensure that the paying spouse’s net income is no less than the supported spouse (unless there are extraordinary circumstances). Judges have broad discretion when deciding the type (or types), duration, and amount of alimony appropriate for your case.
Modifying or Terminating Alimony
Unless the couple agrees in writing, that neither will ask the court to review alimony, either spouse can request a modification if there is a significant change in circumstances since the last support order. However, bridge-the-gap alimony is non-modifiable. Additionally, courts may modify the amount of durational support but not the length. If the supported spouse doesn’t comply with the rehabilitative alimony plan while receiving support, the paying spouse can ask the court to modify or terminate the award later. Florida Statutes Chapter 61.08
Taxes and Alimony
Historically (for divorces finalized before December 31, 2018), alimony payments were tax-deductible to the paying spouse and reportable income to the supported spouse.
However, if the court finalized your divorce on or after January 1, 2019, you can no longer take advantage of the tax deduction for alimony payments and the supported spouse doesn’t report the money as income for tax purposes. IRS Guidance
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