Florida provides five types of alimony: Temporary, Bridge-the-Gap, Rehabilitative, Durational or Permanent.
Temporary support is available to sustain a spouse during ongoing divorce proceedings.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is intended to assist a spouse in meeting short-term needs while transitioning from married to single.
The most common type of alimony in Florida is rehabilitative support. The court awards rehabilitative support in cases where one spouse can become self-supporting but needs time and financial assistance to redevelop previous skills or to acquire education, training, or work experience necessary to enter the workforce.
Durational support is like rehabilitative support in that the court sets a time limit for the alimony.
Awards of alimony are governed by section 61.08, Florida Statutes (2019), which directs, “In determining whether to award alimony or maintenance, the court shall first make a specific factual determination as to whether either party has an actual need for alimony or maintenance and whether either party has the ability to pay alimony or maintenance.”
After making these two requisite specific factual determinations, the court will then determine the type of alimony to award.
There is an argument to be made in favor of permanent alimony after a long-term marriage. A long-term marriage is generally considered to be a marriage that has lasted 17 years or more.
The purpose of permanent alimony is not to establish financial equality. It is meant to provide for the needs and necessities of life for a former spouse as they were established during the marriage. It is intended to avoid—where possible —having a spouse pass from the ease and comfort of always having more than enough, to the distress of having only just enough to get by.
Permanent alimony may also be appropriate in cases where the supported spouse is disabled, of advanced age, or caring for a minor child with special needs.
Permanent alimony ends when the paying spouse dies, or the supported spouse remarries.
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