Generally, alimony takes into consideration factors enumerated in Florida Statute 61.08(2) that determine which type of alimony may be the most appropriate for the spouse in need.
In order to be awarded alimony, one spouse has to have a need for alimony, and the other spouse has to have the ability to pay alimony to the needy spouse.
Some factors include: the standard of living set during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the ages of each spouse, any physical or emotional impairments that may hinder future earning abilities, the individual economic positions of each spouse, any additional education or training needed for a spouse following a divorce, and other contributions to the household including homemaking and childcare.
The length of the marriage is an important consideration and for purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater. The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.
Types of Alimony
After taking into consideration the factors used to determine the need for alimony, there are fives types of alimony that can be awarded. Each type carries its own set of duration and purpose.
Temporary alimony that requires financial support throughout the divorce process. Once the divorce is final, this type of alimony automatically ends.
Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to assist a party by providing support to allow the party to make a transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, and the length of an award may not exceed 2 years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony shall not be modifiable in amount or duration.
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. In order to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan which shall be included as a part of any order awarding rehabilitative alimony.
An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the rehabilitative plan.
Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. The amount of an award of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances. However, the length of an award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage. For example, if you were married for 10 years, this alimony cannot be awarded longer than 10 years.
Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage
Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the factors set forth in Florida Statute 61.08(2), following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate based upon clear and convincing evidence after consideration of the factors set forth in Florida Statute 61.08(2), or following a marriage of short duration if there are written findings of exceptional circumstances.
In awarding permanent alimony, the court shall include a finding that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship.
If you are filing for divorce and have questions about alimony that you may need to pay, or you may be owed, Seff & Capizzi Law Group has the ability to assist with your situation. At Seff & Capizzi Law Group, we regularly assist clients and provide valuable information for those that need assistance in understanding how to approach this particular situation in their own lives.
If you need assistance with collecting or receiving alimony payments, please call us at (954) 920-9220. We have over 40 years of experience and offer a free consultation. Click here for more information about our family law practice and how Seff & Capizzi can help.