Dozens of misconceptions about alimony have grown up around the concept. Alimony is a court-ordered monetary award to a spouse or former spouse when a divorce or separation occurs. The payments are designed to provide financial support for a variety of situations, but there’s no guarantee that individuals will receive, or have to pay, alimony in Florida.
Alimony falls under family law and can be a highly complex and complicated matter. In Florida, there are no hard and fast rules governing alimony and it’s left up to the judge to decide. Alimony can be awarded to male or female spouses and the state allows for five types of alimony.
- Temporary – It’s awarded to the spouse at the beginning of divorce proceedings and ends when the final divorce decree is entered.
- Rehabilitation – This is utilized for training or education that enables the ex-spouse to provide for his/her financial needs.
- Bridge the Gap – It’s a temporary form of alimony that lasts for a maximum of two years to help the ex-spouse get back on their feet.
- Durational – Depending on the length of the marriage, if bridge the gap alimony doesn’t provide sufficient support, durational alimony may be awarded for up to 10 years to help meet needs.
- Permanent – This is ongoing alimony that only stops if the ex-spouse dies, the individual has a “supporting relationship,” or the court orders it terminated.
A judge will consider a wide range of factors that include the ex-spouse’s financial assets, earning capacity and employability. The court also considers the length of the marriage, standard of living, and if adultery has occurred, along with child support responsibilities, and any relationships that aid in helping the ex-spouse support themselves.
The court has an extensive amount of discretion and latitude when deciding whether to award alimony, how much, and for what duration. It’s a complicated process and divorcing couples should never assume they’ll be recipients or have to pay alimony.