Alimony – general information

**The video may take 5 to 10 seconds to load after pressing play**

There are 6 types of alimony that can be awarded in Florida: permanent alimony, durational alimony, rehabilitative alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony, temporary alimony, and lump sum alimony. Each type of alimony serves a different purpose.

Permanent alimony may be awarded 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. The theory behind permanent alimony is to allow a spouse who has not worked (or has lower income or lower earning potential) to continue to live in the same standard of living as enjoyed during the marriage. There must be a showing by the party seeking permanent alimony that the other party has the ability to pay the alimony amount requested.

Permanent alimony is more likely to be awarded in a long term marriage (defined as a marriage greater than 17 years in length). Permanent alimony can be awarded in medium length marriages (defined as marriages of 7 years but less than 17 years). In medium length marriages, the greater the length of the marriage and the greater the disparity of income influence whether permanent alimony is awarded. In exceptional circumstances, permanent alimony can be awarded in short term marriages (defined as a marriage of less than 7 years). This is very rare and usually only happens when one spouse has been seriously injured or has come down with an incurable disease that does not allow them to support themselves.

Rehabilitative alimony is more typically awarded in medium length marriages and short term marriages. Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through either: the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.

The party who is seeking rehabilitative alimony has to show the court a specific and defined plan of rehabilitation (such as attendance at college or vocational training). Often the rehabilitative claim is made by a party who has given up their education or job to raise children and now needs support so they can finish or reestablish themselves in the workforce with education and/or training

Florida’s newest type of alimony is durational alimony. Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. 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. A key principal of durational alimony is that the party seeking durational alimony does not have to have to present a rehabilitative plan. Until durational alimony came into existence, the judge had to decide between permanent alimony or rehabilitative alimony. Now, there is an in between solution.

Bridge-the-gap alimony is short term alimony and cannot exceed 2 years. It is awarded to allow a lesser earning party to ease the financial transition from married to single life.

Unlike child support, there are no alimony guidelines. Therefore, an award of alimony, if any, is decided by the Court considering Section 61.08 of the Florida Statutes. The court also considers case law from the Florida Supreme Court and Florida District Courts of Appeal in deciding entitlement to alimony, type of alimony, amount of alimony, and duration of alimony.

Included herein is part of the Florida Statutes on alimony which sets forth the factors that the court looks at in determining the alimony issue.

In determining a proper award of alimony or maintenance, the court shall consider all relevant economic factors, including but not limited to:

(a)The standard of living established during the marriage.

(b)The duration of the marriage.

(c)The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.

(d)The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.

(e)The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.

(f)The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.

(g)The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.

(h)The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.

(i)All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.

(j)Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

Copyright © 2011 Steven A. Leitman*
Original posting on
*no copyright is asserted as to any
portion of the Florida Statutes