Alimony in Florida – An overview

Alimony in Florida

There are 6 types of alimony in Florida: permanent alimony, durational alimony, rehabilitative alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony, temporary alimony and lump sum alimony. Each type of alimony serves a different purpose. A general summary of each type of alimony in Florida is presented herein. It is important to understand that many factors influence whether alimony will be awarded by the Court. The information contained herein should be considered only as general information and not specific advice as to any particular case.

Permanent alimony in Florida

The theory behind permanent alimony in Florida is to allow a spouse who has not worked (or has lower income or lower earning potential) to continue to live in the same standard of living as enjoyed during the marriage. Permanent alimony is more likely to be awarded in a long term marriage (defined as a marriage greater than 17 years in length). Permanent alimony in Florida can be awarded in medium length marriages (defined as marriages of 7 years but less than 17 years). In medium length marriages, the greater the length of the marriage and the greater the disparity of income influence whether permanent alimony is awarded. In exceptional circumstances, permanent alimony can be awarded in short term marriages (defined as a marriage of less than 7 years). This is very rare and usually only happens when one spouse has been seriously injured or has come down with an incurable disease that does not allow them to support themselves.  There must be a showing by the party seeking permanent alimony in Florida that the other party has the ability to pay the alimony amount requested.

Rehabilitative alimony in Florida

Rehabilitative alimony in Florida is more typically awarded in medium length marriages and short term marriages. Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through either: the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials. The party who is seeking rehabilitative alimony has to show the court a specific and defined plan of rehabilitation (such as attendance at college or vocational training). Often the rehabilitative claim is made by a party who has given up their education or job to raise children and now needs support so they can finish or reestablish themselves in the workforce with education and/or training.

Durational alimony in Florida

The newest type of alimony in Florida is durational alimony. Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony in Florida is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration. A key principal of durational alimony is that the party seeking durational alimony does not have to have to present a rehabilitative plan. Until durational alimony in Florida came into existence, the judge had to decide between permanent alimony or rehabilitative alimony. Now, there is an in between solution.

Bridge-the-gap alimony in Florida

Bridge-the-gap alimony in Florida  is short term alimony and cannot exceed 2 years in length. It can be awarded to a party to allow the party to ease the financial transition from married life to single life.

Temporary alimony in Florida

Temporary alimony in Florida can be awarded to a party to cover their needs from the time that the dissolution of marriage action is filed through the entry of the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.

Lump sum alimony in Florida

Lump sum alimony in Florida is somewhat of a hybrid form of alimony. In some circumstances it can be used as a means of support and other times can be used to equalize the asset distribution (i.e one party may be awarded a business and the other party is awarded lump sum alimony as an offset).

Statute addressing alimony in Florida

An award of alimony in Florida, if any, is decided by the Court considering Section 61.08 of the Florida Statutes. The court also considers case law from the Florida Supreme Court and Florida District Courts of Appeal in deciding entitlement to alimony in Florida. Please feel free to contact me to discuss your questions about alimony in Florida.

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© 2011 Steven A. Leitman