Most people who have never been through a divorce assume that alimony is a rather simple and straightforward thing. The individual ordered to pay alimony makes regular payments to their former spouse, and that’s it, right? While that may be how it works out in some cases, alimony is actually much more complex than you might realize, and there are multiple types of alimony that may be rewarded in a divorce case.
Here’s what you need to know about each type of alimony available in the state of Florida, so that you can get some idea of what type you might receive after your divorce.
This is the type of alimony that is most frequently awarded in Florida divorce cases. Temporary alimony awards alimony payments to a spouse who the judge has determined requires financial support—but only throughout the duration of the divorce case. This type of alimony is intended to support a spouse who previously relied on the income of their partner, but who will obviously not be able to rely on those funds during divorce proceedings.
However, in these cases, the judge usually determines that the spouse will be able to provide for their own support after divorce proceedings have concluded. So, if you are awarded temporary alimony during your divorce, it is important to be aware that these payments will end as soon as your divorce is finalized. For this reason, you should be making plans to provide for your own support after your divorce.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is also a temporary form of alimony, but it begins after a divorce is finalized. This type of alimony is meant to provide for the support of a formerly dependent spouse until they are able to support themselves. The maximum duration for this type of alimony is two years, and is typically awarded for very specific reasons, such as waiting for the marital home to sell, or completing an education program in order to prepare the spouse for entering the workforce.
So, this means it is very much possible for a spouse to be awarded temporary alimony during the divorce proceedings, as well as bridge-the-gap alimony. For example, if the formerly dependent spouse was the homemaker and caregiver of the couple’s children, he or she may not have been in the workforce for several years, and may not have completed his or her education. Bridge-the-gap alimony may then be awarded in order to give the spouse necessary financial support while finishing school, in order to improve job prospects.
Rehabilitative alimony is somewhat similar to bridge-the-gap alimony; it, too, is intended to assist the recipient while he or she receives the necessary training and education to obtain adequate employment. While rehabilitative alimony is not limited to the two-year maximum duration, the spouse requesting rehabilitative alimony must submit a plan that outline how much time and money will be required for him or her to complete the desired education or training.
If the judge in your divorce case determines that other types of alimony are insufficient to meet your needs, you might be awarded durational alimony. This type of alimony allows you to continue receiving payments for a longer period of time (in most cases); the maximum duration for this type of alimony is the length of your marriage. So, if you were married for six years, you can only receive durational alimony for up to six years.
This is often the type of alimony that most people think of when alimony payments are mentioned—ongoing payments from one former spouse to another. However, in reality, permanent alimony is not very commonly awarded. It can only be given if the judge determines the recipient’s economic need is likely to be permanent, and he or she is unable to support themselves at a standard of living similar to the marital standard.
In any case where a judge awards permanent alimony, the judge must state the reasons that another type of alimony wouldn’t be sufficient, fair, or reasonable. As an example, let’s say a couple has been married for forty years. The wife has no higher education or job experience, and is at an age when most people would be considering retirement. Her husband was a very successful businessman, and they had a high standard of living.
In a case such as this, the judge might rule it unfair to expect a woman of senior years to complete several years of schooling and enter the job force at an entry-level position. And, in such a position, she would be unlikely to support herself at a standard of living similar to the marital standard. These could be reasons to award permanent alimony.
If you are going through a divorce and want to learn more about the type of alimony you might expect to receive, contact our attorneys today and set up an appointment.