The Types of Alimony Available in a Florida Divorce

Divorce often puts significant financial strain on one or both parties involved. Sometimes, people who were both working and sharing expenses suddenly need to maintain a residence solely on their own income. In other cases, one spouse was the primary earner while the other took care of the household. In addition to dividing up marital assets in a divorce, Florida law also authorizes courts to award alimony. Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance,” alimony is the term used to describe court-ordered payments made from one spouse to another. Florida courts have significant discretion in choosing whether to award alimony, so it is imperative that anyone seeking or arguing against alimony payments discuss their situation with an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney as soon as possible.

There are several types of alimony available under Florida law. These include the following.

Bridge-the Gap Alimony

Bridge-the-gap alimony is awarded in situations in which one spouse needs financial assistance in transitioning from married to single life. It is intended to help a divorcing spouse meet legitimate short-term needs that can be clearly identified and its duration cannot exceed two years. Additionally, bridge-the-gap alimony cannot be modified.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is awarded in order to help one of the parties to a divorce establish the ability to support himself or herself. Self-support can be established in one of two ways: redeveloping previous skills or credentials, or acquiring education, training, or work experience which will develop new employment skills or credentials. In order for a court to award this type of alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan. Rehabilitative alimony can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstance or if the receiving spouse does not comply with the rehabilitative plan.

Durational Alimony

Durational alimony is awarded in situations in which permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate for one reason or another. It is intended to provide a former spouse with financial support for a set period of time after a short or moderate duration marriage. It can also be awarded after a long marriage if there is not a need for permanent ongoing support. This amount of durational alimony can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances, though the duration of the alimony award cannot be modified absent a showing of exceptional circumstances. In no case may durational alimony exceed the length of the marriage.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony can be awarded after a marriage of a long duration if the court deems it appropriate based on the factors set out in the alimony statute. After a moderate-term marriage, the party seeking permanent alimony must establish evidence in support of these factors by clear and convincing evidence in order to secure an award, and a court may award permanent alimony after a short-term marriage only in exceptional circumstances. In order to award permanent alimony, the court must determine that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances. Permanent alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change of circumstances or if the receiving spouse remarries or is in a supportive relationship as defined by law.

Contact a Boca Raton Family Law Attorney for a Free Consultation

Anyone who is involved in a divorce proceeding in which alimony may be at issue should discuss their case with a Florida divorce lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with Alan R. Burton, call our office today at (954) 229-1660.