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Child Support and Alimony

Sarasota Family Lawyer Takes a Nontraditional Approach to Child Support & Alimony

Cooperative processes yield positive results on important financial matters

If you are dissolving your marriage, two issues that greatly affect your future financial security are child support and alimony. Whether you anticipate paying or receiving support, an accurate assessment based on both parties’ real finances is in your interest. Tia E. Jensen, P.A. works to achieve fair support settlements through nontraditional processes that emphasize respectful cooperation. Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in family law matters, I look at your family finances as a whole and examine how those finances should be used for the family. Often, I engage a financial expert to help the parties develop a plan for their future security. I explain the law thoroughly and apply the law to your circumstances, so you can understand how a court would be likely to rule. When parties commit to mediation or collaboration, and fully disclose their income and assets, reaching a settlement is easier, quicker, and less costly than taking the case to court.

Florida child support awards rely heavily on statutory guidelines

Florida Statute § 61.30 sets forth guidelines for child support based on the monthly net income of both parents and the minimum child support need contained in the guidelines. A judge is allowed to deviate as much as five percent up or down, based on “relevant factors” that might justify a greater or lesser amount of support.

An accurate assessment of a child support obligation depends on many factors:

  • Full disclosure of all sources of parents’ income
  • Accurate application of allowable deductions from parents’ gross income to calculate net income
  • Accurate assessment of the costs of meeting the child’s needs
  • Appropriate application of “relevant factors” to justify a five percent deviation

Following these steps, I create an accurate picture for my clients of what court-ordered child support would look like. Parents then have a reasonable basis for discussing concerns before reaching a final settlement.

Arriving at an alimony award through nontraditional processes

Florida Statute § 61.08 governs alimony in the state. Alimony is gender-neutral and based on the financial need of the would-be recipient and the would-be supporting spouse’s ability to pay. The court then applies numerous factors, such as the length of the marriage and the couple’s standard of living, including “any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.”

Types of alimony available in Florida include:

  • Temporary alimony — Also called pendente lite, temporary spousal support is available during the divorce process and can include amounts for attorney services.
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony — This type of alimony is meant to support a dependent spouse for a limited time until he or she can become fully self-supporting.
  • Rehabilitative alimony — This type of support assists a spouse in efforts to become self-supporting through the acquisition of job skills and/or education.
  • Durational alimony — This is spousal support for a set number of years.
  • Permanent alimony — Reserved for marriages of long duration, or where a dependent spouse has no prospect of becoming self-supporting, this is support for the lifetime of the recipient.

Durational and permanent alimony terminate automatically on the death or remarriage of the recipient spouse. Courts can order a supporting spouse to purchase life insurance to guarantee payment of alimony even if the supporting spouse dies.

In my divorce practice, I help couples reach alimony settlements through mediation and the collaborative divorce process. When couples commit to the process and fully disclose their finances, they can get a swifter, more cost-effective resolution than they could in court, and retain greater control over the outcome than they would if they posed the question to a judge.

Contact a nontraditional family lawyer for alimony and child support issues in Sarasota

Tia E. Jensen, P.A. provides professional and respectful legal representation for parties engaged in child support and alimony disputes. To learn how you can resolve your issues with less stress and expense, schedule a free consultation. Call today at 941-330-9600 or contact my Sarasota office online. My office is conveniently located in the Ringling Professional Center, 2831 Ringling Blvd.