What is a Non-Working Spouse Entitled to in a Divorce in Florida?

what is a nonworking spouse entitled to in a divorce

Going through a divorce is challenging and overwhelming, especially when there’s a clear financial difference between you and your spouse. If you’ve spent most of your time focusing on home duties or raising kids, several questions might be racing through your mind. What am I going to get from this divorce in Florida? How will I support myself? Will I be provided for in the long run?

As you navigate your post-divorce life in Florida, you are definitely facing unique financial challenges that demand attention and proactive planning. With help from one of our family lawyers from Vollrath Law, we’ll break down what you, as a non-working spouse, are entitled to in a divorce, what you can likely

Spousal Support and Alimony

We often call it alimony; spousal support isn’t something that’s just handed out. If you’re a non-working spouse, the following key factors will determine whether or not you’ll receive support:

  • Length of the Marriage: If yours was a short-lived marriage, alimony might be off the table. However, those in long-standing marriages stand a better chance.
  • Financial Capabilities: It’s not just about what you need. The court will also look at what financial support your working spouse can afford.

The duration of spousal support can vary depending upon the length of the marriage.

How Does Employability Factor Into a Divorce Settlement?

As an unemployed spouse, you’re likely to be out of the workforce for a while and need to be a part of some sort of training or education before getting a job. In this case, you might be entitled to rehabilitative alimony. Your age, health, and employable skills play a crucial role here.

The purpose of this support is to help you transition back into the working world, with the understanding that the alimony is temporary and goal-oriented. You might be asked to present a clear plan on how you intend to use this support to become financially independent.

Child Support

When a marriage ends, it is typical for one parent to owe child support to the other. This financial obligation stands true for all parents, irrespective of their current job situation. So, even if your former spouse is currently without employment, you still retain a rightful claim to child support.

However, the exact amount you can expect can fluctuate based on your ex-spouse’s employment standing.

But here’s where it can get complicated:

  • When your ex is unemployed but receives benefits, expect deductions for child support directly from these benefits.
  • If your ex chooses not to work, the legal system steps in. The court will project an ‘assumed income,’ essentially an estimate of what he or she would typically earn if they were gainfully employed.

The amount of child support is then set based on this assessment. The court considers multiple factors to determine the sum of child support. However, a spouse must fight for your rights. Be sure to get the legal advice from a family law attorney. This will help you determine your rights and options.

Assets a Non-Working Spouse Is Entitled to in a Divorce

When spouses decide to part ways, splitting assets becomes a major concern. This division is influenced by various factors detailed in the Florida Statute 61.075. So, if you’re a non-working spouse or even an employed one, understanding what constitutes marital property is vital for your rights and entitlements in a divorce.

Assets Acquired During the Marriage

You probably understand that most property or assets secured during the marital period are viewed as marital property. This holds true even if only one spouse, be it the working spouse or the non-working spouse, purchased it using their individual finances. Common misconceptions, such as believing that keeping an asset solely in one’s name offers protection, don’t stand in Florida divorce proceedings.

Value Enhancement of Non-Marital Assets

If an asset, initially not part of the marital estate, gains value due to the joint efforts or financial contributions of both spouses, the added value may be considered for property distribution.

For instance, a business owned by a spouse before the marriage that appreciates in value because of both spouses’ efforts during the marriage would be subjected to this consideration. The same applies to properties like houses, which may be appreciated due to joint contributions, making the appreciated value a matter of marital interest.

Interspousal Gifts

Any gift exchanged between spouses, for example, for an anniversary or another family occasion, is generally considered marital property. This means that even if a spouse gifts the other a car, it might still come into the equation of property distribution during a divorce.

Property Held as Tenants by the Entireties

In Florida, if a property is held by the couple as ‘tenants by the entireties,’ it’s generally viewed as a marital asset. This special type of property ownership offers some benefits to married couples but can make property distribution complex during divorce proceedings. If a spouse wishes this property to be treated differently, they’d need to provide clear evidence to counter this presumption.

Retirement Benefits

Retirement plans, including vested or nonvested benefits in schemes like 401k, also come under the purview of property distribution. Amounts accumulated in such plans during the marriage are considered marital property. Hence, if a spouse had added a significant amount to their retirement plan during the marriage, that amount would be up for consideration during the divorce process.

Not Sure About Your Next Step?

During the unpleasant journey of a divorce, a non-working spouse often encounters numerous uncertainties. One of them is what they’re entitled to in a divorce. Equipped with the right knowledge, a non-working spouse can approach the process with clarity, ensuring they advocate for their rightful alimony and financial support.

With the guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer, you can confidently pursue your rights: spousal support, right to child support, alimony, and other entitlements.

While you might have a strong case, procedural missteps in family court can lead to delays and potentially unfavorable outcomes. Don’t risk it. Contact Vollrath Law today. We’ll be happy to do a complimentary case review today!

Author Bio

Stephanie Vollrath is an Owner and Partner of Vollrath Law, a Florida estate planning law firm she founded in 2013. With more than seven years of experience in investments and financial advising and 13 years practicing law in Florida, she represented clients in a wide range of estate planning cases. Her practice areas include wills, trusts, guardianship, probate, and other estate planning matters.

Stephanie received her Juris Doctor from the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law and is a member of the Florida Bar and the Seminole County Bar Association.

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