Divorce & Family Law Attorneys

A Board Certified Family Lawyer serving Tampa, FL since 1996

Alimony in Florida

Alimony refers to court ordered payments awarded to a spouse within a separation period or after a divorce is final. Alimony is to provide financial support to the spouse who makes a lower income, or in some cases,  no income at all.

In Florida, alimony is also known as spousal support or maintenance. It can be awarded to either party. There are certain criteria needed in order to determine whether a spouse is entitled to alimony. Before a determination can be made regarding whether a spouse is entitled to alimony, the court must determine whether the spouse has a need for alimony and whether the other party has the ability to pay alimony.

Florida Statute 61.08-Alimony is the statute that deals with alimony and it was recently revised. Effective July 1, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 1416 Dissolution of Marriage (Alimony). In a divorce case, if you and your spouse are unable to agree to alimony, the court will make that determination. There are now four (4) types of alimony in Florida- temporary alimony; bridge-the-gap alimony; rehabilitative alimony and durational alimony. Permanent alimony no longer exists in the State of Florida. In effectuating an award of alimony, the court can order periodic or lump sum payments. The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and any resulting economic impact in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.

Therefore, the court must first determine if the spouse with less resources has a need for alimony and whether the other spouse has the ability to pay. If these criteria have been satisfied, then the next determination is the type of alimony.

For the purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is one of a duration of less than ten (10) years. A moderate term marriage is one of a duration of ten (10) to less than twenty (20) years. A long-term marriage is one of a duration of  twenty (20) years or longer. The length of the marriage is determined from the date of the marriage until the date of the filing of an action for dissolution. Determine what type of marriage you have as it will impact the type of alimony you can request and ultimately receive.

Temporary alimony is just that- temporary, and it can be provided by a court during the pendency of a divorce case. It cannot be provided after the case is final. Temporary alimony is based on the needs of the receiving spouse during the case and the ability to pay of the paying spouse.

Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded by the court in order to provide support to a party in making a transition from being marriage to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony assists a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs. The length of an award of Bridge-the-gap alimony may not exceed two (2) years. An award of Bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable in its amount or duration.

Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through either the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials or the acquisition of education, training or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials. In order for the court to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan. The length of an award of rehabilitative alimony may not exceed five (5) years. Rehabilitative alimony is usually chosen when a spouse wishes to attend college or other educational programs.

Durational alimony may be awarded to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time. The amount of an award of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances. Durational alimony may not be awarded for a marriage lasting less than three (3) years. An award of durational alimony may not exceed fifty (50) percent of the length of a short-term marriage; sixty (60) percent of the length of a moderate term marriage or seventy-five (75) percent the length of a long-term marriage. The amount of durational alimony is the amount determined to be the requesting spouses reasonable need, or an amount not to exceed thirty-five (35) percent of the difference between the parties’ net incomes, whichever amount is less.

An award of durational alimony terminates upon certain circumstances including, but not limited to, the death of either party or the remarriage or entry into a supportive relationship of the receiving spouse.