Spousal support, referred to as alimony in Florida, can be a sticky subject in any divorce. I want any alimony received to be fair and appropriate given my financial circumstances post-divorce. Florida law recognizes four types of alimony, based on my financial needs and opportunities.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is meant to help me transition from married life to living on a single income. It is meant to help with legitimate and identifiable short-term needs. It can only be awarded for two years tops. Once awarded, it cannot be modified.
Rehabilitative alimony is meant to help the me become financially self-sufficient if I need to update job skills or credentials or go back to school or get the work experience necessary to find appropriate employment. Rehabilitative alimony will only be awarded if there is a specific and defined plan for gaining the education, credentials and skills necessary to become employable. Once awarded, it can be modified or ended if there is a substantial change of circumstances or if I do not comply with the rehabilitative plan.
Durational alimony is awarded if I need financial support, but an award of permanent alimony would not be appropriate. Durational alimony is meant to help me out financially for a set period of time. The amount awarded and the length of time it will be paid is based in part on how long my marriage lasted. The amount of durational alimony can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances. The length of time it will be paid can only be modified if there are exceptional circumstances. No matter what, durational alimony cannot last longer than the length of the marriage.
Permanent alimony is only awarded if I will never be able to be self-supporting. It is meant to help the me meet the needs and expenses I had while married. Permanent alimony will only be awarded if no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable given my situation. The amount of alimony can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances or if I remarry.
Alimony should be fair
It can sometimes be difficult to strike a fair balance regarding alimony that benefits me without harming my ex. Sometimes these disputes ultimately are decided by the court after an examination of all the facts and circumstances surrounding the divorce.