In Florida, there are currently 6 types of alimony that a Court can award. Each type of alimony has a purpose and is awarded in specific factual circumstances.
The types of alimony are as follows: permanent periodic alimony, durational alimony, bridge the gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, temporary alimony and lump sum alimony. Whether a person is entitled to alimony and the form of alimony depends on the particular circumstances of each case. The cases below are examples of where each form of alimony would be applicable but they are not indicative of every case where the particular form of alimony would be awarded. Therefore, please contact us to set up an appointment to discuss your individual case and claim of alimony.
Each form of alimony is described below:
Permanent Periodic Alimony
This form of alimony is typically awarded in long term marriages. A long term marriage is one that exceeds 17 years in duration. The purpose of this form of alimony is to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. While called “permanent”, this form of alimony is modifiable based on a substantial change in circumstances. This form of alimony terminates on remarriage.
An example where permanent periodic alimony is likely to be awarded is as follows:
Sally and John are married for 28 years. They are each 50 years old and met after high school and married following John’s graduation from college. Sally never attended college, but instead stayed home and raised the parties’ 3 children. John is a successful lawyer who earns well over $200,000 per year. Sally helped John in starting his law firm that he now owns. After Sally’s children left for college, she obtained a part time job that she still works at. Sally earns $12 per hour in her job. Sally is a candidate for permanent periodic alimony.
This is a new form of alimony, recently created by the Florida Legislature. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. Like permanent, it terminates upon remarriage. The amount of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances. However, the length of an award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.
An example where durational alimony is likely to be awarded is as follows:
Sally and John are married for 13 years. They are each 36 years old. Sally was a school teacher when the parties got married, but gave up this employment to stay home and raise the parties’ 3 children. Towards the later part of the marriage, Sally obtained employment once again as a school teacher and earns $35,000 per year. Sally will remain in the parties’ former marital home with the children. John is a successful business owner who earns well over $150,000 per year. During the parties’ marriage, they lived a very high standard of living, traveled often and drove nice cars. Sally is a candidate for durational alimony.
Bridge the Gap Alimony
This form of alimony is typically applicable in short term marriages. The Statute states that this form of alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, and the length of the award may not exceed 2 years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable in any way.
An example where bridge the gap alimony is likely to be awarded is as follows:
Sally and John are married for 6 years. They are each 36 years old. Sally was a nurse when the parties got married, but gave up this employment shortly into the marriage to help John with his business. Sally is about to obtain employment once again as a nurse, but she needs to update her education and licensing so that she can once again become employed. It will take her approximately 18 months to obtain the education necessary and training to once again become employed. John is a successful business owner who earns well over $100,000 per year. Sally is a candidate for bridge the gap alimony.
This form of alimony is awarded to assist a party with obtaining the necessary education, training or work experience necessary to become self-supporting. This can also include the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials. In order to obtain an award of rehabilitative alimony, you must present the Court with a plan which outlines what the training and/or education consists of, along with the costs and estimated time of completion.
An example where rehabilitative alimony is likely to be awarded is as follows:
Sally and John are married for 18 years. They are each 37 years old. Sally obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology and has always wanted to be a licensed mental health counselor and work with kids and families. During the marriage, Sally worked as a receptionist making $11 per hour. Sally never pursued her further education because she stayed home with the parties’ children. Sally has been accepted to a school where she can obtain her masters and become licensed as a family and children counselor. It is estimated that it will take her 4 years to complete the schooling and become licensed. John is a successful lawyer and earns over $100,000.00. Sally is a candidate for rehabilative alimony.
This is a form of alimony to be paid while a divorce case is pending. It is based on the payor’s ability to pay alimony and the payee’s need for alimony.
Lump Sum Alimony
This form of alimony is paid in a one-time payment or over a series of payments over time. If this form of alimony is awarded, it is fixed and non-modifiable. Lump sum alimony is awarded only in exceptional circumstances.