Factors That May Affect Spousal Support in a High Net Worth Divorce

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Following a divorce, the partner who has a higher income might be ordered to pay spousal support to the one who earns very little or has no job in the United States.

This payment is also known as alimony, and the purpose is to decrease the severe economic impact on the partner who is not wealthy.

When it comes to regular divorces, the sum of money the partner with a higher income has to offer as spousal support will be calculated by the court using a standard formula.

According to the current law, the courts must follow this formula to figure out the sum of money in cases where the combined annual income of the spouses is less than $250,000. In 2018, the cap was raised to $500,000. The formula works by subtracting 20% of the receiving partner's income from 30% of the wealthier spouse's gross income.

However, the difference between the two must not be greater than 40% of the paying spouse's income. Nevertheless, in high net worth divorces, the combined annual income of the spouses exceeds $500,000, in which case the court does not use the formula anymore but has the judge decide by using their subjective criteria the sum of money is paid as spousal support.

Understandably, this might not sit well with a lot of high net worth individuals, as they might be forced to pay their ex-partner a sum of money they consider too great. On the bright side, the court allows couples with a high net worth partner to decide on this sum of money by themselves or with the assistance of a specialized lawyer.

This way, both ex-spouses will be content with the sum of money that has to be paid every month, and the process will be much faster and less frustrating. Nonetheless, you may wonder what factors can influence the decision of a judge to award spousal support in a high net worth divorce.

The Key Factors Influencing Spousal Support in a High Net Worth Divorce

Firstly, it is essential to note that spousal support is not always granted to the partner with a lower income or no job, whether you had a regular marriage or a high net worth one. However, when it is awarded in a high net worth divorce, and you and your spouse let the judge decide on the sum of money that will represent the spousal support, they will consider several factors when making this decision, some of the most important being the following:

  • the duration of your marriage: whether a marriage is seen as short or long depends on the state, but in Florida, marriages that last fewer than 7 years are short-term, whereas those that are over 17 years are considered long-term, and the longer your marriage was, the greater your chances of receiving spousal support are
  • a significant difference in income: if you and your ex-partner had jobs or businesses that paid relatively the same, the judge will most likely not award spousal support, but if the income of one of you was substantially lower than that of the other, they are very likely to award alimony
  • marital compromise: it is not uncommon in marriages for one spouse to work to support the entire family, while the other to be a stay-at-home parent and take care of the children and everything else, so if you have not furthered your career for the sake of your marriage, the judge has a good reason to award spousal support
  • the condition of both partners: another factor that is taken into account is the mental and physical condition of each spouse along with their age, and in situations where one partner is older, disabled, or struggling with health problems, the likelihood of receiving alimony increases
  • professional capacity: the earning capacity refers to factors such as education, professional experience, skills, and the employability of both spouses and a partner who is able to work but is unemployed can receive spousal support toward rehabilitative practices, whereas one who is unable to work can receive permanent spousal support
  • future parenting responsibilities: the court presumes that parenting rights will be mutual unless the child may be in harm's way, and if only a partner has custody of the child, they will most likely receive spousal support

Finally, it is important to be aware that you or your ex-partner might be disappointed if you were in a high net worth marriage and let the judge decide on the sum of money that will represent spousal support. Always keep in mind that you have the option to discuss this issue and reach a compromise by yourself or with the professional assistance of a high net worth lawyer.

Sean M. Cleary Will Provide You with Quality Legal Assistance If You Are Going Through a High Net Worth Divorce

For over 20 years, Sean M. Cleary, the owner and founder of The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, has been offering superior legal assistance to high net worth individuals going through rough and complex divorces.

He has vast experience in this area of practice, so if you are in this unpleasant situation, we encourage you to give our legal team a call, and he will promptly assist you with the most urgent matters, as well as with any other aspect of your divorce.

After you provide him with all the necessary documents, our attorney will carefully examine them and subsequently develop a strong strategy by virtue of which he will help you ease the burden of your divorce.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.