If you’re contemplating a divorce or going through one, you might be concerned about whether or not you have to pay alimony, whether or not you can receive it, and what it would mean for you. Alimony is money that a person pays to their former spouse as financial support. Courts will generally require the higher earner in the marriage, whether it’s the husband or the wife, to pay alimony so the lower earner can maintain his or her lifestyle following the divorce.
But alimony is not quite so simple. Under Florida law, there are five different types of alimony:
Temporary alimony is awarded when one of the partners requires financial support during the divorce process. This type of alimony is meant to ensure that the lower-earning spouse is able to support themselves. Temporary alimony automatically ends when the divorce is finalized.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is short-term and meant to help the recipient during the transitional period after the divorce. Unlike temporary alimony, it begins after the divorce is final. It can last a maximum of two years.
Rehabilitative alimony is financial support for a short period of time that provides the receiving spouse with education or training for employment. This type of alimony is intended to allow the lower-earning spouse time to become completely self-supporting. The spouse requesting rehabilitative alimony must submit a plan that lays out what they want to accomplish and how much time and money they’ll need.
Permanent alimony may be awarded if the judge determines one spouse will need financial support for the indefinite future. The judge must state why they believe the spouse’s financial situation requires this kind of support. Permanent alimony is usually reserved only for marriages of 17 years or longer. It terminates only when the receiving spouse dies or remarries, except in extenuating circumstances.
Used for marriages of less than 17 years, durational alimony provides financial support for a specific period. It could last months or years, but it can’t run longer than the marriage did. For example, if your marriage lasted 15 years, you wouldn’t be able to receive or be required to pay durational alimony for longer than 15 years.
If you’re concerned with your ability to pay alimony, or you believe you are eligible to receive alimony, contact the Law Office of Joseph Cerino so you can fully understand your rights.