The issue of alimony is often the most fought-over divorce legal issue between couples going through a divorce. After all, it seems only natural that one spouse would be hesitant or even loathe to pay alimony while the other spouse may see alimony as a necessary component of their post-divorce life.
Florida law recognizes that different couples have different financial needs post-divorce and provides four different types of alimony that could be awarded based on the individual needs of the spouses. The four types of alimony that may be awarded in a Florida divorce are: bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony and permanent alimony.
The four types of alimony in Florida
Bridge-the-gap alimony is meant to help the receiving spouse adjust financially from married life to life on their own single income. It is meant to meet the receiving spouse’s short-term needs. It will last no more than two years and cannot be changed once ordered.
Rehabilitative alimony is meant to help the receiving spouse become self-sufficient financially. The receiving spouse may need to go back to school, gain work experience or obtain the appropriate credentials needed for their job before they can support themselves financially on their own.
Durational alimony lasts longer than bridge-the-gap alimony and rehabilitative alimony but not as long as permanent alimony. It is meant to provide the receiving spouse with regular financial payments for a specific length of time. How long it lasts depends in part on how long the marriage lasted. The amount of alimony can be adjusted if there is a significant change in circumstances. The length of the award cannot be changed unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Permanent alimony is, as the name implies, a permanent award. It is meant to support the receiving spouse financially for all their life needs, so they can continue living financially as they did while married. It is only awarded if the receiving spouse cannot provide for themselves at all. It can be modified and will end if the receiving spouse remarries or if either party passes away.
Alimony is an important part of divorce
While alimony can be a contentious topic during divorce proceedings, it is an essential issue that must be addressed. It is important that the supporting spouse meets the financial needs of the receiving spouse without impoverishing the supporting spouse. A fair order can help both spouses move financially from married life to single life.