Understanding The 5 Types Of Alimony In Florida

Couples going through a divorce in Florida should be aware of all the options for spousal support as well as how the state determines those payments.

In April of this year, the Florida state government was considering an overhaul of the current alimony laws. According to the Miami Herald, the new guidelines would have used each party's income and the length of the marriage to determine how much support one spouse would give to another. However, lawmakers were divided over a provision that noted an equal child-sharing split between spouses, and the measure did not pass.

It is possible that the legislature will tackle the issue again in the coming year. Until then, anyone going through a divorce should have an understanding of the five types of alimony available in Florida:

1. Temporary alimony

For some people, alimony may start during the divorce proceeding. This is referred to as temporary alimony. A judge may determine that one spouse will have to make support payments to the other. These temporary payments stop as soon as the formal divorce decree is finalized.

2. Bridge-the-gap alimony

As The Florida Bar points out, bridge-the-gap alimony is useful in situations in which one spouse needs a short-term solution to transition from married to single life. These payments have a maximum timeframe of two years and are often awarded to people who have easily identifiable needs. For example, a spouse may receive bridge-the-gap payments if he or she needs help with living expenses until the house sells.

3. Rehabilitative alimony

When couples divorce, it is common for one spouse to need help getting back on his or her feet. Through rehabilitative alimony, that spouse would receive payments to cover the cost of training or education related to finding gainful employment. Florida requires any spouse who is seeking rehabilitative alimony to submit a plan that details how much time and money is necessary to achieve his or her goal.

4. Permanent alimony

There are some situations in which a judge may award a spouse permanent alimony. Under these circumstances, the judge will have to state the reasons why the other forms of alimony would not suffice. Most often, permanent support is given to people who are unable to support themselves.

5. Durational alimony

This type of alimony is typically used in situations where the other types of support do not work. Durational alimony is only available for as long as the marriage lasted. Therefore, a spouse who was married for eight years may only receive these payments for eight years.

How Florida determines alimony payments

There is no set way that a court determines how much money a spouse will receive. A judge will review one spouse's needs as well as the other spouse's ability to make payments. Factors such as the spouses' ages, health, income and earning ability will be factored into the equation. How long a marriage lasted as well as the standard of living during the marriage will also play a role.

Anyone going through a divorce should work with an attorney to discuss issues such as spousal support.