Alimony is designed to keep divorce from forcing dependent spouses into poverty because they lack the means to provide adequately for themselves. In essence, it’s a type of financial support that an affluent spouse or ex-spouse must pay their dependent spouse or ex-spouse during and/or after the divorce.
Florida’s rules on alimony are somewhat unique. Unlike many states, there are four different possibilities for this type of spousal maintenance:
This is designed to provide temporary aid to a dependent spouse as they transition back to single life. Once an amount is determined, it cannot be modified – and the support can only be ordered for a maximum of two years. It might be ordered, for example, when a dependent spouse works part-time and they need some time to find full-time employment.
When a dependent spouse has the ability to be self-supporting but needs some time to obtain the necessary education or skills to get there, they may be awarded rehabilitative alimony. This could be used, for example, when one spouse let their nursing certification fall by the wayside during the marriage and they need time to take a few classes and recertify.
When a marriage is of short or moderate duration (which Florida defines as less than 17 years), and the dependent spouse doesn’t qualify for permanent alimony, they may be awarded durational payments to help them maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage for a time. It cannot last longer than the marriage itself.
This is usually rarest, and it’s reserved for cases where the dependent spouse cannot become self-supporting. Often, this involves a long-term marriage where one spouse was exclusively the homemaker or cases where the dependent spouse is disabled.
While this is a thumbnail sketch of the kinds of alimony available in this state, it’s important to realize that there are many factors that can influence the outcome of any given case. It’s always wisest to get experienced legal guidance that’s specific to your situation.