Ideally, when a couple divorces, both spouses are able to walk away from the marriage financial independent and able to strike out on their own. However, occasionally the divorce will leave one spouse in a poor financial condition and the other will be required to provide some degree of support for that spouse. Known as alimony, this support can be temporary or may even be set up as a permanent arrangement. In Florida, there are actually five types of alimony arrangements designed to meet the many situations that may arise for divorcing couples.
The first type of alimony is known as temporary alimony. Just as it sounds, this is money paid over a very short period of time during the divorce process to get one spouse back up on his or her feet. Once the divorce is finalized, this kind of award automatically ends and the supporting spouse is no longer obligated to make payments.
Another short-term type of alimony is bridge-the-gap alimony. Though still not expected to last permanently, this alimony extends a bit longer than temporary alimony and is generally paid for a period up to two years. It is designed to help a spouse through a period where he or she may not be financially dependent, but is on his or her way toward that. For instance, if one spouse is finishing school or waiting for a house to sell, this alimony might be awarded.
Similar to bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony is awarded to allow one spouse to seek education or training that will put him or her in a financial independent position. In order to be awarded this alimony, the petitioning spouse would need to submit a written plan outlining exactly how much money he or she would need, how this would be spent, and how long such support would be required.
If a spouse needs alimony for a longer period of time, he or she might seek durational alimony. This alimony allows a spouse to receive payments for a period lasting no longer than the length of the marriage. For example, if a couple was married for five years, the receiving spouse would only be entitled to payments for a period of five years and no longer than that.
Finally, a court might award one spouse permanent alimony. This type of award is only granted when there is clear evidence that the financial situation of one spouse is unlikely to change and he or she is dependent on the other spouse for support.
If you and your spouse are going through a divorce and you have questions about alimony, contact the Florida divorce attorneys at the Law Office of K. Dean Kantaras to learn more about your options.