An Overview

In a Florida divorce action, either spouse may be ordered to provide financial support, or alimony, to the other spouse once the marriage has been dissolved. Under some circumstances, a spouse may even be ordered to begin paying temporary alimony before a divorce has been finalized. Generally speaking, the purpose of alimony is to enable a newly divorced person to maintain a state of financial independence.

To conclude that an order of alimony is appropriate, the court must make a factual finding that: 1) One party has an actual need for financial support; and 2) the other party has the ability to provide that necessary support. Each party will be afforded an opportunity to present evidence, such as financial affidavits, in support of or in opposition to an award of alimony. If the court has determined that alimony is appropriate, it must then determine what type and the amount of alimony to order.

Types of Alimony Awarded

Family Law courts in Florida are authorized to order one of (or 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.”

Protecting What Matters Most

Contemplating divorce is almost always emotionally difficult, and the thought of creating a plan for the division of marital property and finances can be overwhelming. Knowing your rights as a spouse and/or a parent early in the process can help parties avoid unnecessary conflict, save valuable time, and prevent additional stress. Most of all, knowing your rights can help to ensure that the terms of your divorce grant you no less than you deserve. The counsel of an experienced divorce lawyer can help you protect the aspects of your life that are most important.

With almost 50 years of combined, courtroom experience, the attorneys at Risen & Ryan have fought for and protected the rights of thousands of clients in divorce proceedings. With the help of a dedicated support team, our attorneys aggressively pursue the best outcome for every client we represent. Contact our office today at 850-864-1951 or complete the form above to schedule a consultation today!  

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