There are currently four types of alimony awarded in a Florida divorce: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational and permanent. The type of alimony awarded is based in part on the length of the marriage; a marriage is considered short-term if it’s less than 7 years, moderate if between 7 and 17 years and long-term if 17 years or greater. Each type of alimony carries certain requirements to be awarded and to be given consideration in a Florida divorce.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a spouse in transitioning from married to single life. It cannot exceed 2 years and is non-modifiable, but it terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the recipient spouse. This type of alimony is usually appropriate in short term marriages.
Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to assist a spouse in becoming self-supportIng by, for example, finishing school or getting other credentials for a career. There must be a specific rehabilitation plan in a final judgment awarding this type of alimony. It is modifiable if there is a substantial change in circumstances and may be terminated if the receiving spouse fails to abide by the plan or completes it. Short or moderate term marriages are usually candidates for this type of spousal support.
Durational alimony is awarded when permanent alimony is not appropriate. Usually, it is ordered for a set period of time following a moderate or long term marriage. It terminates when either party dies or the receiving spouse remarries. The length of the award cannot be modified except under exceptional circumstances and cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
Finally, permanent alimony is awarded primarily in long term marriages. It can be awarded in moderate term marriages based on clear and convincing evidence and in short term marriages after a finding of exceptional circumstances. If the court awards this alimony, there must be a finding that no other form of alimony is appropriate. It terminates when either party dies or the receiving spouse remarries.
As is the case with most aspects of a Florida divorce case, the type of spousal support that may be awarded in your case depends on the facts of your case. Consult with a Miami alimony lawyer to go over the specific facts of your case.