Helping You Understand The Different Types Of Alimony In Florida

Alimony is money that is paid from one spouse to another for support and maintenance after a divorce. It can come in many forms, including a lump-sum payment, payments over a short period of time or even payments that last a lifetime. In theory, alimony is designed to help prevent one spouse from suffering a drastic change in their standard of living as a result of the divorce.

At Thompson Family Law, P.A., in Fort Myers, we work closely with clients going through a divorce, helping them explore all of their options so they can make informed choices about their cases. To discuss your options with an experienced family law attorney, call 239-243-9297 or toll free 888-550-6071 today.

What Type of Alimony Is Appropriate In Your Situation?

There are several different types of alimony, each serving a different purpose, including:

  • Permanent support: Provides for life's necessities, as established during the marriage. These payments continue until the death of either party or remarriage of the recipient. This is often applied to situations where one spouse did not work during a relatively long marriage in order to raise children or at the request of the other spouse. Permanent support may also be awarded in marriages of a shorter length, if other factors and circumstances warrant. It can be modified if circumstances change substantially.
  • Rehabilitative: The purpose is to help put the receiving spouse in a position to support him or herself and provide the standard of living that was established during the course of marriage. In practice, this form or alimony often results in payments for educational expenses and vocational training. Rehabilitative alimony does not terminate if the receiving spouse gets remarried.
  • "Bridge the gap": Used to assist a spouse with any legitimate, identifiable, short-term needs under circumstances where a lump sum amount is reasonable. This is to be used when one spouse is unable to provide for the essentials during the transition from married to single life. Bridge the gap alimony cannot be awarded for a period of longer than two years and cannot be modified in amount or duration.
  • Durational alimony: Provides temporarily for life's necessities for a set period of time after a divorce in situations where the parties were married for a short to moderate length of time. The duration of alimony payments in this case should not exceed the length of the marriage, and is terminated in the event of the death of either party or remarriage of the recipient.
  • Lump sum or periodic payments: A fixed and definite amount of alimony, it is a vested right that may not be increased, decreased or terminated by retirement, death, cohabitation or remarriage. Although this sounds like a property right, lump sum alimony can only be granted where alimony would otherwise be awarded, but a Court finds some special justification for granting a lump sum.
  • Temporary alimony: is sometimes awarded to balance the parties' needs and assets during the divorce itself. The court will try to balance the needs as fixed by the parties' standard of living with the ability to pay. The court should look at both party's income, fixed expenses such as house payments, and joint liquid assets when fashioning an award of temporary alimony that is consistent with the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. It is important to make a realistic assessment of needs and the ability of both parties to meet those needs. Temporary alimony automatically ends when the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is entered by the Court.The court may order any combination of these forms of alimony and/or lump sum payments, and may also order temporary alimony to be paid during divorce proceedings.

For purposes of determining the appropriate type and amount of alimony, it is very important to determine the reasonable needs for each party, whether they are asking for or receiving alimony. A number of different factors will be considered in your case to determine how much, if any, alimony is appropriate, including the earning capacity and educational level or vocational skills and employability of each spouse, any other sources of income to either spouse, distribution of assets between the spouses, length of the marriage, children's issues and the standard of living established during the marriage.

Contact An Attorney Today

Whether you are looking to establish alimony in your case or modify an existing alimony order, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of knowledgeable family law attorneys.