Alimony Considerations: The Types of Alimony Recognized in Florida

Alimony is awarded to a former spouse to provide the needs and necessities of life that were established during the marriage. The courts use several guidelines in determining the award of alimony. These are as follows:

Need and ability to pay.
It must be established that the recipient have an actual need and the payor must have the ability to pay. Both elements must be present to be considered to receive any alimony award. To determine the need of the recipient, he or she must be incapable of gaining or regaining the means to earn the income to meet the standard of living set by the marriage.

Duration of marriage.
There are three categories of marriages in which the court takes into consideration when determining the type of alimony the recipient spouse should be awarded. A “short-term” marriage is a marriage that has maintained for a period of less than 7 years. A “moderate-term” marriage is a marriage that has held for a period of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years. Lastly, a “long-term” marriage is a marriage that has sustained for 17 years or more. It is important to note that the length of a marriage is determined by the period of time from the date of marriage to the filing of the dissolution of marriage.

Type of alimony.

The criteria used to establish which type of alimony should be awarded include factors such as the parties’ ability to earn income, education, age, health, duration of marriage, the standard of living provided during the marriage, and the value of the parties’ estates.
Permanent Periodic Alimony

Permanent alimony is awarded to the party who is unable to meet the needs and necessities of life following the dissolution of marriage. It may be awarded to spouses in long-term marriages, to spouses in a moderate-term marriage if the award is appropriate considering other factors, and to short-term marriages under exceptional circumstances. This award is terminated upon the death of either party, or upon the remarriage of the recipient. This award may also be modified or terminated upon substantial change in circumstance.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to accommodate the receiving spouse while establishing the ability to self support through redeveloping previous skills; or receiving education, training, or work experience. To be awarded rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific plan outlined and included in the order awarding rehabilitating alimony. The plan must include the object of rehabilitation, the cost, and the projected time period to complete the plan.

Bridge the Gap Alimony

Bridge the gap alimony is awarded to assist a party’s transition from being married to being single by providing financial support. This type of alimony may not exceed two years and it is not modifiable in the ordered amount or duration.

Durational Alimony

Durational alimony is awarded to provide a party with financial assistance for a set period of time. This may be awarded where permanent periodic alimony is unsuitable and usually follows a short-tem or moderate-term marriage. The amount of the award may be modified or terminated based on change of circumstances but the length of the award may only be modified do to exceptional circumstances and cannot exceed the length of the marriage.

Lump Sum Alimony

Lump sum alimony can be awarded in three ways. The first is an award of non-alimony property interest. The second is an award of a support payment paid in one sum. The last is to ensure an equitable distribution of property. To be awarded lump sum alimony, the award must be necessary for support or used as an equalizing payment.

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony is an amount paid after filing the petition and before the filing of the final judgment.

Here at The Bowes Law Group, we have experienced attorneys to help guide you through the process of alimony, call today for your free consultation.