Types of Alimony

Florida Family Law Attorney

Alimony awards are a significant issue in many divorces. There are five types of alimony in Florida: alimony pendente lite, bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony, and permanent alimony, each with different durations and purposes. The court may order any one type of alimony or a combination. If you are considering a divorce and are concerned about the alimony award, you should contact a family law attorney today.

Alimony Pendente Lite

Alimony pendent lite, also known as temporary alimony, is designed to provide for a spouse who is not self-supporting during the period between filing for dissolution and the final divorce decree. This type of alimony ends upon the finalization of the divorce.

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony

Bridge-the-gap alimony is short-term alimony that helps a spouse transition from marriage to single life. To get a bridge-the-gap alimony award, a spouse must show a legitimate, identifiable short-term need, such as needing money while waiting for a house to sell or while applying for jobs. This type of alimony may last for up to two years. It cannot be modified, but it terminates if the payee spouse either dies or remarries.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is designed to provide for a spouse until he or she can become self-sufficient. For example, it may be awarded if one spouse needs time to get an education, vocational training, or work experience. Often, rehabilitative alimony is awarded when one spouse has sacrificed education or a career to raise children.

This type of alimony requires a specific and detailed rehabilitative plan. The spouse must also provide information regarding the time and money needed to complete the plan.

Rehabilitative alimony may be modified if:

Durational Alimony

Durational alimony is intended to support a spouse for a set time after a divorce. It may be awarded in a short-term (under seven years) or moderate-term (seven to 17 years) marriage, or in a marriage of long duration (over 17 years) if there is no need for permanent alimony. The length of the alimony may not exceed the duration of the marriage.

The amount of durational alimony may be modified upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances, but the length may be modified only in exceptional circumstances. Durational alimony terminates upon the death or remarriage of the payee spouse.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony allows a spouse to maintain standard of living established during the marriage if the spouse cannot become self-supporting to a level that would maintain a lifestyle close to the marital standard. It is awarded in long-term or moderate-term marriages. The court must consider statutory factors, including the standard of living during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, and each spouse’s earning capacity. If exceptional circumstances are shown, permanent alimony may be awarded in a short-term marriage, as long as the court finds that no other type of alimony is just.

The amount or duration of permanent alimony may be modified if there is substantial change in circumstances or if the payee spouse enters a supportive relationship, one in which the partners cohabit, and the other partner is financially supportive. Permanent alimony terminates on the payee spouse’s death or remarriage.

If you are considering a divorce, please contact West Palm Beach family law attorney William Wallshein for a free consultation to discuss your alimony options.