Alimony Florida


Divorce cases generate many questions about alimony. Today we talk about the types of alimony available in Florida. Alimony is based primarily on the need of the receiving spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay.

Temporary Alimony is payable while the divorce case pending. This type of alimony cannot be waived, even in a prenuptial agreement because it is based on the legal duty to support your spouse. It ends at final judgment.

At final judgment, there are three possible types of alimony in the law.

Permanent alimony is what we traditionally think of when we hear the word “alimony.” It is paid as long the receiving former spouse is alive and remains unmarried. If the receiving spouse moves into a “supportive relationship,” Florida law now permits permanent alimony to be modified or changed. If the paying spouse dies first, his or her estate has to continue to pay.

Rehabilitative alimony is paid while the receiving spouse gets education or training that will allow him/her to be self-supporting. To be eligible for rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific plan for the education.

Lump sum alimony is awarded, but not often. This is payment of a specific amount, in either one payment or payments over time. Once ordered, the whole amount becomes the property of the receiving spouse. This alimony cannot be modified.

In some areas of court, judges have created a fourth type of alimony called “bridge the gap,” meant to ease the transition to single life when there is no rehabilitative plan. This is another type that cannot be changed once ordered.

Florida Statute 61.08 lists the factors judges consider when deciding alimony when a case goes to trial. There are also certain presumptions that courts use when deciding permanent alimony. The presumptions are based on how long you have been married.

In long term marriages, those at least 17 years long, it is presumed that permanent alimony WILL BE awarded. This does not always guarantee an alimony award however. The age and earning capacity of the recipient also play big roles. Generally, the older the recipient, then more likely it is that permanent alimony will be granted.

It is presumed that permanent alimony WILL NOT BE granted in a short term marriage. Short term marriages are those of less than six years. Again, though, even a short term marriage can serve as a basis for alimony based on the circumstances.

Those married between six and 17 years have NO presumptions for or against alimony. These are called “grey area” marriages. Court decisions vary from region to region and even within the same area. This is the area most-often litigated in Florida alimony cases.

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