Divorce in the State of Florida can be complicated and time-consuming. Alimony, money paid from one spouse to another, is decided by the court and helps to “maintain the current marital lifestyle” of one of the parties for a specified period of time. There are actually 5 different types of alimony that can be considered: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent. In some cases, alimony is awarded in a single lump-sum payment, but it is usually paid in periodic installments. Florida courts usually award alimony to the lower wage or non-wage earner. Florida Statutes define short-term marriage as less than 7 years, moderate-term marriage as between 7 and 17 years, and long-term marriage as 17 years or longer. The length of the marriage is calculated from the original marriage date to the actual filing date for a petition of dissolution. Although adultery is not grounds for divorce in the State of Florida, it may be taken into consideration when awarding alimony.
In light of the standard of living established during the marriage, the court determines which party has a financial need and if either of the parties have the ability to pay. If these criteria are met in deciding the specific type of alimony and the amount, the court considers many factors including, the marital standard of living obtained, length and duration of the marriage, the age, emotional and physical condition of the parties, financial resources, earning capacity, marital contributions and responsibilities, and additional factors the court deems appropriate.
If the parties can agree on the type and amount of alimony to be paid, they can sign a formal agreement that outlines their wishes and conditions. These decisions are often made during mediation, and the court will consider any agreements the two parties have mutually agreed upon.
Michael Atter, David Wolf, Jennifer Eringer and Julie Hodges are experienced, aggressive advocates for their clients who are seeking fair and just alimony settlements. Wood, Atter and Wolf have over 50 years of experience handling divorce cases
and all family law matters. 5 Types of AlimonyTemporary Alimony
is often times granted while the divorce is “pending” to a deserving spouse for economic maintenance during the divorce process.
Bridge-The-Gap Alimony is awarded after the divorce is final for up to a maximum of two years. This is intended to provide financial support while making a transition from married to single life. It assists the party with legitimate, identifiable short-term needs and goals while they assume financial independence.
Rehabilitative Alimony is awarded based on assisting the party in the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials, education, or training necessary for employment. A spouse requesting rehabilitative alimony must have a plan of action to achieve desired goals, outlining the amount of money and time needed to complete. The court may modify or terminate the alimony based on what is referred to as a “substantial change in circumstances, non-compliance or completion of the plan”.
Durational Alimony may be awarded when permanent or other forms of alimony are not appropriate. This is awarded for a specific period of time where support is needed but not granted on a permanent basis. The termination of the alimony applies with the death of either party or remarriage of the party receiving the durational alimony. The length of a durational alimony award cannot exceed the actual length of the marriage.
Permanent Alimony is outlined by Florida Statutes as follows: Providing for spousal support to maintain the needs and necessities of life that were established during the marriage. Permanent alimony supports the party who lacks the financial resources and abilities to achieve this marital standard of living, and the court shall conclude that no other form of alimony is both fair and reasonable under the circumstances. Again, permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or remarriage of the party receiving the permanent alimony award. The court may modify or terminate the alimony based on a “substantial change in circumstances” or upon the existence of a “supportive relationship.” Why Should You Choose Wood, Atter and Wolf To Represent Your Legal InterestIn a Florida divorce, the award of alimony is common should the facts support it. This is true where only one spouse is making a substantial financial contribution to the household, such as where one spouse is a “stay-at-home” homemaker. It is also true where, even though both parties are working, there is a substantial disparity in their earnings.