What Are The Different Kinds Of Spousal Maintenance In Florida?
Many people are surprised to learn that their financial responsibilities to a former spouse don’t end just because they get divorced. This is because, under Florida, a higher earning spouse can be legally required to make monthly alimony, or spousal maintenance payments, to a lesser earning spouse once a divorce has been finalized. These payments are usually not permanent, but are intended to help smooth the transition to post-divorce life for those who earned less income than their spouse during their marriage. Read on to learn more about the different types of alimony awarded in Florida.
Of the four types of alimony awarded in Florida, durational alimony is perhaps the most common. These awards are intended to provide economic assistance to a former spouse for a certain period of time and usually only after the end of a marriage of moderate duration (between seven and 17 years). When awarded, it can never exceed the length of the marriage.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is often mistaken for another type of alimony, known as rehabilitative alimony. While the goal of both types of spousal maintenance is to provide funds to someone who is making the transition from being married to single, they do so in different ways. Bridge-the-gap alimony, for instance, provides lesser earning spouses with funds for identifiable, legitimate short-term needs. These types of alimony awards cannot last longer than two years and cannot be modified at a later date.
Although also intended to help people adapt to post-divorce life, rehabilitative alimony is a bit different than durational or bridge-the-gap awards. Rehabilitative alimony is specifically designed to provide short-term assistance to those who aim to become self-supporting by obtaining additional education and job training either to develop or to redevelop skills or credentials. To qualify for rehabilitative alimony, a recipient must have a specific rehabilitative plan in place that details the types of steps that will be taken to become self-sufficient. These awards are paid until the plan is achieved, there is a specific change in circumstances for either party, or the recipient is not in compliance with the plan.
Permanent alimony is the least commonly awarded type of spousal maintenance in Florida. It is only awarded after the end of long-term marriages (or marriages lasting 17 years or more). These payments aren’t intended to help a lesser earning partner become self-supporting, but to provide for that person’s needs as they were established during the course of the marriage. Establishing a standard of living is extremely important in these cases, as it will largely dictate how much a court awards in permanent alimony. Finally, as the name suggests, permanent alimony awards remain in place indefinitely, or until the payor passes away or the recipient remarries.
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If you didn’t earn as much as your spouse during your marriage and have concerns about how you will be able to support yourself, call experienced Florida alimony lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to learn more about your legal options.