In Florida, courts can grant alimony to either spouse. Alimony, which is also commonly referred to as spousal maintenance, is only awarded when one party has an actual need for it and the other person can actually afford to pay it.
Types of Alimony
There are several types of alimony, each of which has been designed to meet different goals and address different situations.
- Bridge the Gap Alimony – This type of alimony helps a spouse make the transition from marriage to single life. It is for short-term needs and cannot exceed two years. This type of alimony is not modifiable in either the amount or duration ordered.
- Rehabilitative Alimony – This type of alimony is provided to allow one party to establish their own ability to support themselves, either through redeveloping previous skills or credentials or through acquiring the education and/or training necessary to obtain and maintain employment. It also requires a specific plan to achieve the desired goals. Courts may modify or terminate rehabilitative alimony when there is a substantial change in circumstances, the spouse achieves the goals of the plan, or the spouse fails to follow the rehabilitative plan.
- Durational Alimony – Courts award durational alimony in cases where permanent periodic alimony is not appropriate, but one party needs some form of economic assistance. Durational alimony cannot be modified except under exceptional circumstances. This type of alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
- Permanent Alimony – When one party does not have the financial ability to meet their own needs, courts may award permanent alimony. It’s important to note, however, that courts only award permanent alimony when it’s deemed that no other type of alimony is fair and reasonable, under present circumstances.
Courts carefully consider the facts and circumstances of each case before determining which form of alimony best suits the situation.
Considerations When Determining the Type and Amount of Alimony
Florida Statute §61.08 details the factors a court must consider when determining the type and amount of alimony. Courts consider this list “non-exhaustive.” In other words, while the court may consider the factors listed, they may also consider other factors as well. This statute specifically allows courts the ability to consider adultery on behalf of either spouse. Additionally, courts may consider the circumstances of adultery when considering the amount of alimony they award. Other factors include:
- The parties’ standard of living during the marriage
- Marriage length
- Age and physical and emotional condition of each individual party
- Each party’s financial resources, including both marital and non-marital assets
- Each party’s earning capacity, education level, job skills, and employability
- The time necessary to train for a career
- Each party’s contribution to the marriage, including as a homemaker
- Future responsibility for children of the marriage
- Tax consequences to both parties for an alimony award
- Sources of income, including from assets owned
- Other factors to provide equity and justice
Alimony is one of many topics that divorcing couples face. From determining whether alimony is appropriate, how much alimony will accomplish the goals, and when alimony payments will end, alimony and spousal support lawyer Eric Cheshire can answer all of your questions, as well as address your concerns. Contact our office today at (561) 677-8090 to schedule a private consultation.