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Which Type of Alimony Is Right for Your Family?


Florida law recognizes a whopping six types of alimony.  Unless you have been involved in a dispute with a former spouse over spousal support, it might seem excessive to define so many different types of alimony, but in law, too much detail is better than too little.  Imagine if alimony were simply a question of “yes” or “no,” if the spouse who earned more money had to write an alimony check every month as long as both spouses were still alive, or else the spouse who earned less would have to walk away with nothing.  If those were the only choices, then there would be no fair or mutually satisfactory solution for most couples.  How much alimony, if any, a divorced person should receive, as well as how long they should continue to receive it, depends on several factors.  To find out what kind of spousal support arrangement you can reasonably expect a judge to agree to, consult a Palm Beach County alimony lawyer.

The Six Types of Alimony Recognized by Florida Law

These are the six types of alimony that family courts in Florida sometimes award; some of them are exclusively for marriages of a certain length.  For purposes of determining spousal support a short marriage means less than seven years, while a medium-length marriage is 7-17 years, and a long marriage is more than 17 years.

  • Temporary alimony – ends when the divorce becomes final. Its purpose is to stop the marital home from falling late on mortgage or utility payments while the divorce is pending and to require the spouses to split the cost of those bills.
  • Bridge the gap alimony – begins when the divorce is final and lasts no more than two years. Its purpose is to support a spouse who did not work during most of the marriage while also imposing an implicit deadline by which the recipient spouse must find stable employment.
  • Rehabilitative alimony – is like bridge the gap alimony, except that the end date is calculated differently. It begins when the divorce is final, and its recipient is a spouse who has been out of the workforce but is enrolled in a degree program that will qualify them for a certain profession (or requires them to enroll, as part of the divorce agreement).  It ends when the recipient spouse graduates, with the assumption that the recipient spouse will begin working in their new professional capacity shortly thereafter.
  • Lump sum alimony – is a fixed amount, determined during the divorce process; it often involves one spouse buying the other out of their share of certain marital property. It may be paid as a lump sum upon issuance of the divorce decree, or it might be paid in installments, but the payments stop once the agreed-upon amount is reached.
  • Durational alimony – applies to marriages that lasted less than 17 years. The recipient spouse is unable to work, and the paying spouse is their main source of financial support.  In other words, the recipient spouse would have been a candidate for permanent alimony if the marriage had lasted longer.  Durational alimony can last no longer than the length of the marriage.
  • Permanent alimony – is a monthly payment that recurs until one spouse dies or the recipient spouse remarries. Except in extraordinary circumstances, courts only award it to people who divorce after 17 years of marriage or more.

For some couples, the best kind of alimony is no alimony at all.  The court may not award alimony if the couple has few assets or if they kept their finances mostly separate during the marriage.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

A Boca Raton alimony attorney can help you get a realistic view of how your finances will be after a divorce.  Contact Schwartz | White about your alimony case.


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