If you are currently going through a divorce, you might be concerned with whether or not you have to pay alimony, whether or not you can receive alimony, and what that would mean for you. Alimony is money that a person pays to their ex-spouse as financial support. Courts will generally require the higher earner in the marriage, be it the husband or wife, to pay alimony so that the lower earner can maintain his or her lifestyle following the divorce.
However, understanding alimony is not as simple as that. Under Florida law, there are five different types of alimony: temporary, durational, rehabilitative, bridge-the-gap, and permanent.
Temporary alimony, also known as pendente lite, is awarded when one of the partners requires financial support during the divorce process. This type of alimony is meant to ensure that the lower-earning spouse is able to support themselves during this process. Temporary alimony automatically ends when the divorce is finalized.
A court might decide that durational alimony is the best option if all other options are thought to be insufficient to meet the needs of the recipient. The length of durational alimony is dependent on the length of the marriage. For example, if your marriage lasted for 15 years, you wouldn’t be able to receive or be required to pay alimony for any longer than 15 years.
Rehabilitative alimony is meant to help one spouse be able to support themselves while they work on being able to support themselves. This includes paying for education or training that is necessary to secure gainful employment. In order to receive rehabilitative alimony, the requester must submit a plan which indicated the time and money required to achieve his or her goals.
Bridge-the-gap alimony is very short-term and is only meant to help the recipient during the transitional period after the divorce. This type of alimony can last a maximum of two years, and is meant to be used to meet short-term needs.
Permanent alimony may be awarded if the judge determines that one spouse will need support for the indefinite future. The judge must be able to state why he or she believes the spouse’s financial situation requires permanent support.
If you are concerned with your ability to pay alimony, or you believe you are eligible to receive alimony, it may be best to contact a family law attorney for helping you fully understand your rights. Family law is a very intricate area of law and it may be in you best interest to have an experienced attorney on your side; if your spouse has an attorney, it is even more important that an attorney is representing you. We offer a free consultation to anybody who needs family law help.