Also known as spousal support in some states, alimony is a court-ordered payment arrangement from one spouse to another during and/or after a legal divorce or separation. In the state of Florida, there are six different types, each serving a different purpose and determined by different factors: durational, permanent, lump-sum, temporary, rehabilitative, and bridge-the-gap.
What is durational alimony? This type of alimony provides the recipient with financial support from their former spouse for a set period of time. This period is decided by the court according to the recipient’s needs, the payor’s ability, and the duration of the marriage that the payment period cannot exceed. For example, say a couple was married for eight years. The duration of the alimony payments cannot be longer than eight years.
Permanent alimony is the least common of the six types recognized under Florida law and is only awarded under exceptional circumstances. The payor makes payments to the recipient until one of them dies or the recipient remarries or enters into a financially supportive relationship.
3. Lump Sum
Lump-sum alimony is usually awarded to the recipient from the sale of marital property such as a home. It can also be awarded when the court determines at one or both parties’ request that a “clean break” is needed, as lump-sum alimony cannot be terminated or modified by any party once the court rules on a payment amount. The pre-determined amount is paid out in either a single payment or in installments.
Temporary alimony is unique in the sense that it is paid during a legal separation while divorce proceedings are still ongoing and ends when the divorce is finalized. It is still possible for the court to award further alimony payments of a different type after the divorce.
Rehabilitative alimony is most often awarded to help the recipient re-establish previous careers or job skills and seek education and job training to enable them to support themselves. This is usually the case when the recipient gave up a career or education for the marriage or to raise children.
Bridge-the-gap payments may not exceed a duration of two years. This type is meant to help the recipient get on their own feet, so to speak, or, as stated in Fla. Stat. § 61.08(5) “to assist a party with legitimate, identifiable, short-term needs.”
All alimony types are determined by many factors, including the duration of the marriage, the needs of the recipient, and the ability of the payor to pay.