If you are in the midst of divorce, you may have concerns about whether you will have to pay alimony. Also referred to as “spousal maintenance,” alimony is money that one former spouse pays to the other former spouse. Usually, it is financial support that the spouse with the greater income pays to the lower-earning spouse. Alimony tends to be one of the more contentious issues that must be addressed during divorce proceedings. While the parties are free to reach their own agreement regarding alimony, this is not always possible as things can quickly become heated. In that case, the court will decide on which type of alimony will apply and the amount of each payment as well as the duration of the alimony payments.
Types of Alimony in Florida
Depending on the type of alimony ordered, payments may begin during the couple’s separation period, before the divorce is finalized. Payments may stop when the divorce is finalized, soon thereafter, or continue farther into the future. Here are the different types of alimony that are available under Florida law:
- Temporary Alimony: This is the alimony type awarded while a divorce is still pending. It is intended to provide financial support to one spouse during the divorce process. While temporary alimony automatically terminates upon the finalizing of the divorce, the spouse may go on to receive another type of alimony afterwards.
- Bridge-the-gap Alimony: While short term in length, this type of alimony is only intended to support the recipient spouse while he or she makes the transition to post-support life. You can only receive bridge-the-gap alimony for a maximum of two years. It is intended to help meet legitimate and identifiable short-term needs such as securing housing, furnishing new housing, or paying utilities. Should it be deemed necessary, the court can award additional kinds of alimony to the spouse receiving bridge-the-gap alimony.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: This type of alimony is intended to help one spouse become self-sufficient after divorce. The alimony payments are to go towards things like job training or education in order for the spouse to secure gainful employment. A person requesting rehabilitative alimony must submit a plan which sets forth the time and money required to reach his or her goals.
- Durational Alimony: Generally only applicable for marriages considered to be long or moderate in time length, durational alimony is awarded when there is not a need for financial support on a permanent basis, but for a time longer than that provided by the other types of alimony available. The length of time and amount of payments for durational alimony will be granted on a case by case basis with the judge considering things such as the earning capacities of each spouse and the standard of living that was established during the marriage.
- Permanent Alimony: Should the court determine that a spouse will need financial support indefinitely, an award for permanent alimony may be granted. There must, however, be identifiable reasons why the court believes that a spouse’s situation merits permanent financial support. The judge must state as such in the final order.
Florida Family Law Attorneys
Alimony is one of several big issues that will be determined during the divorce process. The financial consequences of paying or receiving/not receiving alimony can be substantial. The dedicated divorce attorneys at Orlando Family Team are here to advocate for your best interests during all aspects of divorce. Contact us today.