Is Property or Alimony More Valuable in Divorce?
Before a court will grant a couple’s divorce in Florida, the parties will need to contend with a few complicated issues, including property division and alimony. The former refers to how marital assets and debts are divided between two parties upon divorce, while the latter is a term used to describe the financial support that is paid by one spouse to the other after a marriage has been terminated.
Unfortunately, these issues often become entangled during negotiations, with one party being tempted to accept a lower alimony award for a larger share of the couple’s assets or vice versa. Whether this type of agreement is in a person’s best interests depends on the specific circumstances of the case, making it especially important for those who are thinking about filing for divorce, to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney who can help protect their interests.
Retaining Marital Assets
Before entering into a settlement agreement, divorcing couples should make sure that they have a thorough understanding of the difference between property awards and alimony. The former is subject to equitable distribution between the parties, which doesn’t necessarily mean that both individuals will receive equal portions of their estate. Instead, the court will assess a number of factors before deciding what would be equitable in a particular case. Once a division has been made, the settlement or judgement will be final and cannot be modified by either party.
Awarding Spousal Maintenance
Unlike property division agreements, not all divorces require that one of the parties pay alimony to the other. Instead, this determination will be reached by assessing whether one of the individuals requires financial assistance and whether the other party has the ability to pay alimony. Once need and ability have been presented, courts will decide how long payments must be made and what form they will take. It’s important to note that alimony awards, unlike property division agreements, can be modified at a later date.
Couples who are engaged in mediation or settlement negotiations can formulate an agreement that divests them of their property and alimony in any way that they wish. This is when discussions about keeping certain assets in return for an elimination or decrease in alimony can come into play. However, before deciding to go this route, parties should be sure to take a few factors into consideration, including:
- How the court would likely distribute the property under Florida law if the couple were unable to reach an agreement;
- How the court would likely rule on the issue of alimony;
- The value of marital property in comparison to the value of the alimony award over time; and
- The ability of an alimony award to be terminated or modified after divorce.
Alimony and marital property both have their own value in the market that is subject to change, which means that the process of determining whether alimony or assets are more valuable in a specific case will usually require a careful financial review.
Set Up a Free Case Review
To discuss the property division and alimony-related options available to you with an experienced divorce lawyer, please call Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.