If you are currently going through a divorce or thinking about divorce in our state, you have likely listened to the debate over permanent alimony with perked ears. Especially for those who have been married for an extended period of time, permanent alimony can be both a fear and a lifeline to a happier life.
What happened to permanent alimony in Florida?
In a word, nothing. The governor vetoed SB 1796, which would have abolished permanent alimony in our state. However, this veto did not just keep permanent alimony alive in Florida, the bill also would have created a pathway to retirement for divorcing spouses. In addition, it would have created a presumption of shared custody as the legal default in child custody proceedings. This, of course, means that child custody fights will continue, and judges will be left deciding of their own accord.
How is alimony handled in Florida?
Of course, just like the other states, our state recognizes alimony, post-divorce. Here, we have four categories of alimony: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational and permanent. However, permanent alimony is not recognized in all states.
Bridge-the-gap (BTG) alimony is designed for exactly what it sounds like: to bridge the gap between Melbourne, Florida, married life and single life. BTG alimony is short term, and it can only be used for specific, identifiable needs up to two years at most,. Typically, this is used when one of the spouses cannot afford to live alone until the property division process is completed and the assets are sold. The most common example is the family home.
If the Jupiter, Florida, a spouse that needs BTG alimony also needs time to develop their ability to sustain their life, then instead of BTG alimony, rehabilitative alimony will likely be used. As the name implies, this type of alimony gives one spouse the time to rehabilitate their professional life through work experience, training or education. However, while this form of alimony can last longer than BTG, it must have a defined length, which is determined by the judge through the rehabilitation plan.
Durational vs. permanent alimony
Often, there is confusion about when durational is utilized instead of permanent alimony. Specifically, West Palm Beach, Florida, durational is used for those scenarios where BTG alimony is too short, permanent alimony is too long and rehabilitation is not realistic. However, the maximum for durational alimony is the length of the marriage.