A Review of the Changes to the Alimony Statute of Florida

Beginning in July 2010, changes to the Florida statute governing alimony were put into effect. Below is a brief summary of the different types of alimony and how an award of alimony is determined.

The Courts look at several factors in making a determination of alimony. First, the length of the party’s marriage must be examined. There is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage lasting less than 7 years. A moderate-term marriage is a marriage lasting more than 7 years but less than 17 years. A long-term marriage is a marriage lasting longer than 17 years. The length of the marriage is determined using the date the action for dissolution was filed. Second, the courts consider a list of relevant factors including, but not limited to, standard of living developed during the marriage, age and physical condition of each party, financial resources of the parties, earning capacities, educational levels, contribution of each party to the marriage, etc.

Under Florida law, there are four types of alimony: Bridge-the-gap alimony, Rehabilitative alimony, Durational alimony, and Permanent alimony.

Bridge-the-gap alimony assists a party in making the transition from married life to single life and may not exceed a period of 2 years.

Rehabilitative alimony assists a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through the development of previous skills or the acquisition of education or training to develop employment skills or credentials. A specific plan must be made and it terminates at the conclusion of the plan or if there is noncompliance with the plan or if there is a substantial change in circumstances.

Durational alimony is awarded when an award of permanent alimony would be inappropriate. It is generally awarded to parties for a set time following a marriage of short or moderate duration as a method to provide assistance during a set period of time. It terminates at the end of the set time period or if there is a substantial change in circumstances.

Permanent alimony is generally awarded following a long-term marriage and is given to parties who lack the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a divorce. It is terminated at the death of either party or upon remarriage of the party receiving.

For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer in Florida, call Zweben Law Group at (877) 223-5454 today.