Types of Alimony in Florida


Alimony laws vary state by state, and alimony awards vary from divorce to divorce. Some people may assume that the wife always walks away from divorce proceedings with alimony. However, that’s not the case. Whether alimony will be allocated and to whom depends on a number of factors. Here’s what you need to know about the types of alimony in Florida.

(Please note this article is meant to provide an overview of Florida alimony law. The best way to determine whether you or your soon-to-be ex may be eligible for alimony is to discuss your impending divorce with a skilled Tampa divorce lawyer.)

What is Alimony?

Alimony is a court-ordered payment one former spouse must make to the other former spouse after a separation or divorce. There are different types of alimony to allow for financial assistance in various situations, particularly when a divorce will greatly impact one party’s standard of living. Alimony may be awarded over a period of time, or it may be awarded all at once. There are different tax implications for these forms of alimony, which should be considered with a financial advisor or alimony attorney. Alimony can also be agreed to during a collaborative divorce and signed off by a judge.

Alimony is not child support. Child support is awarded separately and revolves around parental responsibility. Alimony, on the other hand, concerns itself with the needs of one of the divorcing or separating parties. For child support help, contact our Tampa child support lawyers.

Who Can Receive Alimony in Florida?

Alimony is not just for women. While historically, alimony was seen as the purview of an ex-wife, in today’s world, more women are working and supporting their families as primary breadwinners. Alimony can be received by a male or female spouse who may suffer financially because of a divorce or separation.

What Are the Different Types of Alimony in Florida?

Depending on your situation, a judge may award one of the following types of alimony during your divorce proceedings if she sees fit.

Permanent Alimony (no longer available)

When a divorce or separation will lead to a significant change in the standard of living for one party, and when said party does not have the means to support themselves, a judge may award permanent alimony. This is more common in cases where one party devoted themselves to supporting the other party’s career or raising their children, forgoing a career of their own. Permanent alimony lasts until the beneficiary remarries or until either spouse dies. This type of alimony is more common following the dissolution of a long-term marriage (17+ years).

Durational Alimony

Durational alimony is alimony that is granted for a specific period of time and is meant to assist with maintaining a standard of living similar to the one held during the marriage. This type of alimony was introduced in 2010 and is meant to assist those who were in short or medium-term marriages. The judge establishes a timeframe and will not extend beyond the length of the marriage. For example, a marriage of ten years may result in durational alimony for a period of time less than ten years.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is awarded when one party needs assistance with becoming self-supporting. To be awarded, the party must have a plan for seeking credentials, licensure, certifications, or experience that will lead to employment. The duration of rehabilitative alimony is dependent on the plan. For example, if the plan includes acquiring a nursing license, rehabilitative alimony may be awarded for the length of the nursing program.

Lump Sum

Lump Sum alimony is dispersed in one chunk or pre-established intervals. The parties decide upon it, and it cannot be modified later.

Bridge the Gap

Bridge the gap alimony aims to assist one party in transitioning from married life to being single. This can include assisting with moving expenses or establishing a new home. It is a short-term alimony.

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony is meant to sustain one party throughout the divorce process. It is awarded during the divorce proceedings to help “keep the lights on” at the marital residence. It ends once the award is finalized. Further alimony may be awarded if the judge sees fit.

What Will Affect the Amount of Alimony in Florida?

Florida alimony calculators use a variety of factors, including the income of both parties, their ability to support themselves after the divorce, and the length of their marriage. For short and medium-term marriages—those lasting up to 7 years and between 7 and 17 years—a judge will not order alimony that extends beyond the length of the marriage itself. Depending on the parties ‘ needs, some form of durational alimony may be awarded. Longer-term marriages where one party is completely dependent on the other are more likely to result in permanent alimony.

Sometimes, alimony is granted during a divorce before a final alimony is granted to ensure the beneficiary party is able to maintain their previous standard of living. Alimony can also be useful for a divorcing partner to introduce themselves back into the workforce or supplement low wages.

The following are some of the factors a judge may consider when deciding to grant alimony:

  • Length of the union
  • Employability of either party
  • Differences in income between parties
  • Whether child support is also needed
  • Age of the spouses
  • Standard of living during the marriage

How Long Will Alimony Last in Florida?

The length of alimony depends on the type. As previously mentioned, permanent alimony lasts until one of the former spouses dies or the beneficiary spouse remarries. Other forms of alimony have a specific end date depending on the reason they are being awarded.

Can I Get Alimony After I’m Already Divorced in Florida?

In most cases, it is impossible to return to court once a divorce has been settled and ask for alimony. When it comes to legal matters, however, it’s unwise to say “never.” It is possible that if one party can show a marked change in circumstances, a judge may be willing to revisit and modify a divorce agreement. This is highly unlikely, though. Issues regarding future finances should be discussed openly and honestly with a divorce attorney and possibly a financial adviser so that alimony is addressed during the divorce proceedings.

Can Alimony Be Modified in Florida?

Florida alimony modifications can be made for a variety of reasons. Either party can petition a judge to revisit an alimony agreement. A judge will then determine whether the agreement needs to be modified and decide whether to hear from both parties and modify the previous agreement. We’re often asked, “What if I lose my job and can’t pay alimony?” here, you’ll need to contact your alimony lawyer for specific recommendations.

For a judge to consider modification of alimony, one party must show:

  • The supporting party has undergone a significant change in resources and can no longer afford to pay alimony.
  • The supporting party has fallen ill and will have difficulty meeting the financial obligation.
  • The beneficiary party no longer needs as much alimony because of a financial change in their situation.

As with any legal issue, the best way to determine what factors may affect you is to discuss your divorce or alimony modification request with a skilled Tampa alimony attorney.

Finding a Tampa Alimony Attorney

If you’re thinking about a divorce and are concerned about alimony, you should consult with a Tampa divorce attorney. This is one of the most important questions you can ask a divorce attorney. A skilled divorce attorney can share different divorce options with you and help you understand the various types of alimony and which may be applicable in your specific case. Every divorce has its own particular nuances, and discussing your situation with a compassionate, knowledgeable Tampa divorce attorney can help you understand how those may play out.
Schedule a consultation today to start your divorce on the right foot.

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