How Alimony is Determined in Florida
An alimony award in Florida is dependent on a need by the party, for alimony and whether the spouse can pay the alimony.
In determining whether to award alimony, courts will look at several factors, including:
Employment Are both spouses working? If so, how much do they earn? If not, what employment could the non-working spouse reasonably expect to find after the divorce?
Length of Marriage – The longer the marriage, the greater likelihood that alimony will be awarded and the higher the amount of alimony awarded.
Education – The education of each spouse can typically be linked to their future earning potential, and therefore, a need (or lack of need) for alimony may exist.
Past Employment – If one of the spouses decided to stay home to care for the children, past employment may be reviewed to determine their earning potential.
Types of Alimony
If the judge decides that alimony will be awarded to one party, the next step is to determine which type of alimony is appropriate. The following options are available in Florida:
Permanent Alimony – This is set up to continue for the rest of the spouse’s life. It is quite rare that this would be awarded and is only used when one spouse will be unable to support themselves at any time in the future.
Durational Alimony – This is awarded for a set duration of time. For example, the end date could be set at the point where their youngest child reaches the age of 18.
Rehabilitative Alimony – This is awarded until the receiving spouse hits a specific milestone. If the spouse is going back to school to finish a degree, rehabilitative alimony may be given until their expected graduation date.
Bridge-the-Gap Alimony – This is one of the more common options, and is a short-term alimony arrangement to help the receiving spouse transition into their new life, alone. This type typically lasts no more than two years.