Alimony & Spousal Support
Alimony is the payment for the support of a spouse and is independent of a claim
for child support. While the Florida Legislature has attempted given some direction
as to the types and appropriateness of alimony awards, the trial courts are given broad
discretion in awarding both entitlement to and the amount of alimony. Generally speaking,
the length of time of a marriage together with the respective financial resources of each party will be the biggest factors a court considers when determining whether to award alimony and how much alimony to award.
There are four types of alimony.
- Bridge-the-Gap: meant to provide for specific, identifiable short term needs of a spouse while he or she transitions from married to single life. This alimony may not exceed 24 months in length
- Rehabilitative: designed to "rehabilitate" a spouse to a position where he or she is able to support him or herself. This is a fact intensive type of alimony where the party seeking the award of alimony is required to demonstrate a plan (such as additional education or training), which once completed should allow them to be self supporting.
- Durational: provides for a spouse for a specific duration, not to exceed the length of marriage, when the souse seeking alimony has not established a permanent need for support.
- Permanent Periodic: requires the payment of alimony to the receiving spouse until he or she remarries, cohabitates with a person tantamount to marriage (supportive relationship) or until the spouse dies.
Each of these types of alimony have differing standards of proof and if you think you might be entitled to or on the hook for alimony, you should speak with an attorney.