In a divorce, the court may decide to award payments of spousal support from one spouse to the other. This support is to help the other party financially after the divorce if he or she may struggle to become self-supporting.
The Florida Statutes explains all types of alimony are eligible for lump-sum payments or periodic payments. In addition, the court considers the same factors when awarding any type. These factors include whether there is a need for financial assistance. If so, the judge then decides what type of alimony to award. There are four options.
Permanent alimony is for spouses who need support to have the standard of living they had in the marriage and who are not financially self-supporting. The court must find that no other type of alimony will work. Spouses who receive this support award may have a disability or be at or near retirement age, so they will never be able to find work that allows them to support themselves adequately.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is a short-term award that will not exceed two years of payments. The court cannot modify it once it makes the judgment. A spouse receives this type of award to help with the transition between married and single life, when he or she should be able to become stable and self-supporting without the need for long-term payments. For example, a spouse may need help with the expenses of securing a place to live and moving.
Durational alimony allows for payments to help support one spouse. It has a set duration for payments when the court does not see a need for a permanent support order, or other types of alimony are not an option.
Rehabilitative alimony is for a spouse who needs time to prepare for becoming self-supporting. The court awards this if the person needs training or education to secure employment. The court can modify this type of payment if necessary.