Types of Alimony in Florida – Part 1
March 4, 2015
A major issue in a Florida divorce is the court’s determination regarding the payment of alimony. Alimony orders may vary based on duration, amount, method of payment, and purpose. Florida’s alimony statutes provide for five types of alimony, which have different purposes and durations. These types are: alimony pendente lite, bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony, and permanent alimony. The court may order any of these forms of alimony, or may order a combination of these forms. In Florida, courts may order alimony to be paid in periodic payments or in a lump sum, or a combination of the two.
Alimony Pendente Lite
Alimony pendente lite, or temporary alimony, is a type of alimony that is granted after filing for divorce, but before the final divorce decree. It is designed to provide financial support for a spouse who is not able to provide for him or herself during the divorce proceedings. Temporary alimony ends upon the finalization of the divorce, at which point a more permanent form of alimony may be ordered.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is the most short-term of the varieties of post-divorce decree alimony. It is designed to assist in the transition from married to single life. For an order of bridge-the-gap alimony, the payee spouse must show that he or she has a legitimate, identifiable, short-term need. This term is not defined in the statute, but could perhaps include a need for living expenses while waiting for a house to sell or while applying for jobs.
Bridge-the-gap alimony may not last for more than two years. After the alimony award is made, it cannot be modified in either amount or duration. However, if the payee spouse either dies or remarries, the alimony is terminated.
The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to help the payee spouse gain the ability to be self-supporting. It is used if one spouse, to be self-supporting, needs to get an education, vocational training, or work experience, or if the spouse needs to redevelop previous skills or credentials. This type of alimony is frequently used by spouses who have sacrificed careers or education to raise children. Rehabilitative alimony requires that a specific and detailed rehabilitative plan, outlining the time and money required to complete the goals in the plan. The rehabilitative plan will be included in the alimony order.
This type of alimony can be modified for three reasons:
- In the event of a substantial change in circumstances,
- If the payee spouse does not comply with the rehabilitative plan, or
- Upon the completion of the rehabilitative plan.
Alimony determinations are one of the most important aspects of a divorce. Alimony can have an enormous impact on a divorcing person’s finances and quality of life, whether for the payee or the payer spouse. Because of this, it is essential to retain the services of an experienced attorney when making such decisions. If you are going through a divorce in Florida, please contact West Palm Beach family law attorney William Wallshein for a free initial consultation.