In many marriages, both spouses work outside of the home, but one spouse earns considerably less than the other. In other marriages, one spouse may stay at home to tend to the household or care for the children, while the other spouse works outside of the home.
In either scenario, if the couple divorces, the lesser-earning spouse or stay-at-home spouse may find it difficult to support themselves financially when they no longer have access to their ex’s income. In such cases, Florida courts may award alimony in the divorce, requiring the higher-earning spouse to make monthly payments to help support the lesser-earning spouse on a temporary or permanent basis.
Types of Florida alimony
In Florida, there are four main types of alimony that a divorced person may receive in the divorce. Courts will consider several factors when determining which type is necessary, including length of the marriage and earning potential of the lesser-earning spouse. The four types include:
- Permanent: Intended for lesser-earning spouses in long-term marriages (over 17 years), who have been out of work for a long time (over 10 years) or are otherwise unable to maintain the standard of living they became accustomed to during the marriage.
- Durational: Intended for lesser-earning spouses in moderate-term (seven to 17 years) or short-term marriages (seven years or fewer), but can only be awarded for as long as the marriage lasted (e.g., five years of alimony maximum for a five-year marriage).
- Rehabilitative: Intended for lesser-earning spouses in moderate-term or short-term marriages who need time to finish their education or receive job training.
- Bridge-the-gap: Intended for lesser earning spouses to help with their living expenses, education, and other costs for up to two years.
The court may also award temporary alimony to help lesser-earning spouses with divorce costs and will last until the divorce is finalized.
While alimony is awarded in some divorce cases, it may not always be necessary. A family law attorney in your area can review your case and determine which, if any, alimony is most likely to be awarded based on your situation.