Once the court has reached the conclusion that an award of alimony is necessary, it must then determine what type of alimony is most appropriate. To make this determination, the court will consider several factors that are listed in §61.08(2), Florida Statutes, which includes:
- the standard of living established during the marriage;
- duration of the marriage;
- the age of the parties and the physical and emotional state of each; and
- each party’s individual contributions to the marriage (e.g. homemaking, childcare, etc.);
In addition to these factors, §61.08(2)(j) gives the court broad discretion to consider “any other factor…” it sees as necessary to achieve “… equity and justice between the parties.” When determining what amount should be awarded, the court may even, at its discretion, take into consideration that adultery was committed by either spouse. Family Law courts in Florida are authorized to order one of, or even a combination of, the following types of alimony:
- Bridge-The-Gap – The purpose of Bridge-The-Gap alimony is to meet the short-term needs of a newly divorced person, enabling him or her to transition from life as a married person into life as a single person. An award of this type of alimony cannot exceed 2 years.
- Rehabilitative – Just as the name implies, the purpose of Rehabilitative alimony is to assist a party in reaching a place of self-support, either by the redevelopment of skills the person once possessed or through new education, training, or work experience.
- Durational – Durational alimony provides support to a recipient for a set period of time following a marriage that was short or moderate in duration. The court may order Durational alimony following a long-term marriage (generally, 17 or more years) where it finds the absence of need for support on a permanent basis.
- Permanent – The court may award Permanent alimony where it finds a party cannot reasonably be expected to acquire the financial ability to provide for his or her necessities of life. The court will only award Permanent alimony if it finds that, under the circumstances, no other form of alimony is “fair and reasonable.”