In a dissolution of marriage, alimony is the amount of money one spouse may pay the other during or after the divorce. In general, courts require the higher earner to assist the lesser earner to maintain a similar lifestyle to what was had during the marriage. There are six types of alimony available in the state of Florida for which a judge can award any combination that seems fair and reasonable.
What are the different types of alimony?
Six types of alimony exist in Florida which can be awarded under varying circumstances for different reasons. Alimony may be resolved through a negotiated settlement or it is decided by the trial court judge. Settling is often the better option as spouses have more flexibility in setting their terms.
Temporary alimony is issued while the divorce is pending. It is paid starting from the filing of the petition of dissolution to the final judgment. The court determines how much and how often alimony must be paid
Bridge the Gap Alimony
Bridge-the-gap alimony starts after the divorce is finalized for a short period of time. It is awarded to assist a spouse during the difficult transition from being married to being single. It is awarded for no more than 2 years after the final judgment. Bridge-the-gap alimony takes care of short-term needs and the amount cannot be modified during the period that it is awarded.
Rehabilitative alimony assists the recipient spouse who is in a position of little employment or unemployment. A spouse who is not sufficiently employed to be self-supporting can receive rehabilitative alimony by the higher earning spouse. The alimony helps to train, retrain, or educate the spouse for better employment opportunities. It is awarded for a set period of time as part of a plan that must outline the time and money it will take to complete retraining.
If the court determines that the recipient spouse’s needs will be ongoing, the judge can award permanent alimony. Such alimony aims to support a spouse who cannot become self-supporting. This ends upon the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the recipient. It is usually awarded after a marriage of long duration, or a marriage that lasted longer than 17 years.
When other types of alimony are insufficient, the court can award durational alimony. It works to economically support a spouse for a set period of time following a short term marriage. The amount can be modified or eliminated based on a change of circumstances.
Lump Sum Alimony
Lump sum alimony is an award for a specific amount that is fixed. It could be paid all at once or in set payments, but the amount cannot be changed. This type of alimony ends upon the death of the supporting spouse, but not if the supporting spouse remarries.
Attorney Stephen H. Butter has practiced family law for over 50 years and has authored three books, two of which are Legal Rights of Women in Florida and No Fault Divorce in Florida. He specializes in marital litigation and services Miami-Dade County and Broward County. When you need a family law attorney in Florida, call him at (305) 333-7159.