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When is a spouse entitled to alimony in a Florida divorce? P.2

In our last post, we began looking at some of the factors Florida judges consider when determining entitlement to alimony. As we noted, the various factors go to both the type and amount of alimony, and there are several types of alimony available.

Bridge-the-gap alimony can be awarded to help support one party in transitioning to the single state, with short-term needs. By statute, this type of alimony may not be awarded for more than two years, terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the receiving party, and may not be modified as to amount or duration. 

Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded in order to help a party establish the ability to support him- or herself after divorce, either by redevelopment of previous skills or credentials or in acquiring education, training or work experience that makes self-support possible. Rehabilitative alimony may not be awarded without a specific plan for rehabilitation, and may be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances, if the rehabilitating party doesn’t abide by the plan, or if the plan is completed earlier than expected.

Durational alimony may be awarded upon the dissolution of short or moderate length marriages—those which lasted less than 17 years—in order to provide financial assistance for a set length of time. Durational alimony terminates on the same bases as rehabilitative alimony. While the amount of such an alimony award may be modified in some circumstances, the length of the award may only be modified under exceptional circumstances and may not last longer than the marriage did.

Finally, permanent alimony may be awarded in those rare cases where a party lacks the ability to financially support him- or herself as to basic needs and necessities after the marriage ends. Judges are less likely to award permanent alimony for marriages of short and moderate duration.

Next time, we’ll continue this discussion and look at a potential change that may be coming to alimony law in Florida, as well as the importance of working with an experienced attorney seeking alimony.

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