In the midst of getting a divorce in Florida, there are many things to consider. Parenting plans, asset division, child support and legal counsel normally top the list in a typical divorce. But where does alimony factor into the equation? Alimony is a key component in many Florida divorce cases and for good reason. Let’s discuss what alimony is and how it affects a divorce.
Alimony: What Is It?
By definition, alimony means that the spouse with greater income supports the former spouse financially until he/she is able to support themselves independently. This support is available in the state of Florida, and under Florida law, alimony is granted by court order on a case by case basis. Alimony can be awarded in monthly payments, in lump sums or both, depending on the agreement. The court can also decide to award non-monetary alimony in replace of monetary payments.
Alimony: The Types
Alimony’s main goal is to even the field between spouses, and the marriage length is extremely important when it comes to which type may be awarded in a case. This is why there are varying types of alimony, based on the situation. The following are the common types of alimony awarded in Florida divorce courts:
- Short-term: Awarded in marriages lasting less than 7 years.
- Moderate-term: Awarded in marriages lasting more than 7 years but less than 17 years.
- Long-term: Awarded in marriages lasting over 17 years.
Purposes of Alimony
As with the length of the marriage, the purpose of alimony needs to be considered so that the right decision is made by the court. The following are the different circumstances and the types of alimony awarded in those situations.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is awarded transitionally. By design, it helps one spouse transition into non-married life financially by granting them the funds necessary to live on their own.
Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to a spouse who needs to obtain a skill in order to live independently. For instance, attending college or a trade school in order to gain employment would be a case where this type of alimony would apply. In order for the court to grant rehabilitative alimony, specific plans must be in place with the court and followed by the spouse.
Temporary alimony is generally awarded during the divorce proceedings and is automatically terminated once a formal divorce agreement is in place.
Durational alimony applies to those in short to moderate-term marriages and is available when the other alimony types do not apply to the situation. This type of alimony is awarded as a set amount and is dispersed over a set period of time.
Permanent alimony applies to those in moderate to long-term marriages and is awarded if a spouse does not have the abilities to fulfill the standards set by the marriage. The court will review the couple’s married life and make the decision on what is acceptable.
Alimony in a Florida Divorce
As you can see, many factors are considered before alimony is awarded in a Florida divorce case. It’s important to know your options and understand that the court will make its decision on a case by case basis. For help with your divorce, please contact Chris Lombardo, Esq. and Jennifer L. DeVries, Esq. at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A. at 239-649-6555 or visit www.wpl-legal.com.