When a couple divorces in Florida, the spouse earning the higher income may be required to make support payments—known as alimony—to the other spouse to enable them to maintain the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage. A number of factors are used to determine whether a spouse should receive alimony, the amount they should get, and how long support payments should last, including the length of the marriage and its standard of living. The court will also consider factors such as each spouse's:
- Parenting responsibilities
- Financial resources and sources of income
- Contributions to the marriage
Florida law recognizes five different types of alimony or spousal support, including:
- Temporary – Also known as pendente lite, temporary alimony is awarded when a spouse requires financial support during the divorce process. This particular kind of alimony stops when the divorce is finalized.
- Bridge-the-gap – This is a short-term form of alimony intended to help a spouse cover post-divorce expenses while they work toward financial independence and stability. Awarded after the divorce is finalized, bridge-the-gap alimony can continue for up to two years.
- Rehabilitative – This form of alimony is intended to help a spouse support themselves while completing an educational program or vocational training that will make it possible for them to become financially independent. Rehabilitative alimony includes the cost of the education or training program necessary to secure suitable employment. The spouse requesting this alimony is required to submit a plan indicating their goals, as well as the time and money needed to achieve them.
- Durational – A judge may order this type of spousal support when a spouse is unable to meet their financial obligations, despite being awarded other forms of alimony. Durational alimony is based on financial need and is only available up to the length of the marriage. For example, if the marriage lasted seven years, this form of alimony would only be awarded for seven years or less.
- Permanent – Awarded when no other form of alimony will suffice, permanent spousal support is intended for spouses who would be unable to maintain the marriage's standard of living on their own. This type of alimony can be awarded for an indefinite period but is only ordered in special circumstances.
Consult an Experienced Florida Divorce Attorney
Concerned about what role alimony will play in your impending divorce? Good Life Legal Services can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.