Divorcing Florida couples often have many questions about alimony. A higher earning spouse may have concerns about their ability to pay, and how long they will have to pay for, while the lower earning spouse may worry about their ability to make ends meet after a divorce.
Divorced friends or family members are often willing to provide information, but everyone’s experience with divorce and alimony is different, so it is important to have accurate information on the types of alimony in Florida and their purposes.
Sometimes one spouse may need a set amount of alimony for only a short duration. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed for people who have specific short-term financial needs or obligations and require periodic payments to meet their immediate financial goals.
The amount of bridge-the-gap alimony is fixed and is unmodifiable unless the receiving spouse remarries. It may not exceed a period of two years, as this is considered a reasonable amount of time for a person accustomed to living in a two-income household to adjust to living on one income.
A spouse who hasn’t worked during the marriage or needs to update their skills could receive rehabilitative alimony. This goal of this type of alimony is to allow the receiving spouse time to go back to school or participate in training or other educational activities that will increase their earning capacity.
To receive rehabilitative alimony, a set plan must be established and incorporated into the alimony order. For example, the spouse asking for rehabilitative alimony to finish a degree may have to show information about the specific degree program and the expected time for completion. The alimony award will then be set for the length of time the program will take to complete.
The amount of rehabilitative alimony may be changed or terminated if there is a substantial change in circumstances, such as the receiving spouse dropping out of school or remarrying. Once the rehabilitation plan is completed, the alimony typically ends.
Durational and permanent alimony
Durational alimony is short-term alimony, appropriate for short-term marriages. A short-term marriage is considered 7 years or less. Durational alimony could be award in long-term marriages, depending on the circumstances. As with rehabilitative alimony, a substantial change of circumstances or the remarriage of the receiving party may modify or end the alimony.
Although permanent alimony is available in Florida, it is generally awarded less often than in the past. Permanent alimony is reserved for situations involving a spouse who is not expected to ever be able to support themselves financially as a single person.
The fear of financial insecurity is one of the biggest stressors in a divorce. It is natural to worry about finances post-divorce, whether due to having to pay alimony or not receiving enough. Luckily, helpful resources are available.