Understanding Alimony in Florida
Alimony is often a top concern for high net worth individuals contemplating or going through a divorce. That’s why it is important that all parties understand the different types that can be awarded in Florida.
Florida has a statute devoted entirely to this subject (61.08). According to the Florida statute, “the court may grant alimony to either party, which may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent in nature or any combination of these forms of alimony.”
If you are divorcing without a prenuptial agreement, it is imperative you have a clear understanding of these four types in Florida. This is especially important for individuals with considerable assets or income.
1: Bridge the gap alimony
In Florida, “bridge the gap alimony” provides support after a divorce until the receiving spouse makes a transition from being married to being single. This support is designed to be short-term and cannot exceed two years.
Bridge the gap is common in high net worth divorces and is intended to help the newly-single recipient adjust to their new financial reality. It is important to note that this form of alimony is designed to help an individual with “legitimate, identifiable, short-term needs,” and is not “intended to fund the enjoyment of every little luxury enjoyed before a divorce.”
Florida courts will award “rehabilitative alimony” to help a spouse be able to support themselves through either redevelopment of previous skills or credentials, or the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.
It is important to note that when awarding rehabilitative alimony, the court requires a specific plan be in place for how the receiving party will support themselves on their own once the plan has been completed.
According to the Florida Statute, 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 or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis.”
An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony.
4: Permanent alimony
The fourth type of alimony, permanent alimony, is awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage.
To qualify for permanent alimony, parties must meet certain qualifications. Things the court takes into consideration are:
- Marriage of long duration (17 + years)
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The age of each spouse
- The physical and emotional condition of each spouse
- The financial resources of each spouse
- The earning potential, education level, vocational skill, and employability of each spouse
- The contribution of each party to the marriage including homemaking, child care, education, and career building
As the courts have a great deal of discretion in awarding alimony to an ex-spouse, it is important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney before you negotiate. Alimony has major financial implications, and is cause enough to seek legal help.
If you would like a consultation, please contact Brodie & Friedman here.
With over 30 years of combined experience, Jason Brodie Esq. and Joshua Friedman Esq. will guide you toward realistic goals and provide committed advocacy toward achieving them. They are known throughout South Florida for dedicated client service, tenacity, and success in complex divorce litigation involving property division, child custody, and spousal support.
To get a better understanding of the qualities our reputation is built on, contact our office in Boca Raton to schedule your initial phone consultation (561) 392-5100