Florida’s alimony statute is found at § 61.08, F.S. Either party in a marriage may be entitled to some form of alimony . Florida courts have long recognized three types of alimony: Bridge-the-Gap (transitional short-term alimony which cannot exceed two years and cannot be modified), Rehabilitative (a stated plan to assist a spouse in acquiring education, training or work experience to develop employment skills or credentials), and Permanent (for the party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her own needs and necessities of life and to provide for such needs and necessities as they were established during the marriage). In 2010, significant amendments to the alimony statute included the addition of a fourth category of “Durational” Alimony (a short-term award intended to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a short or moderate duration marriage which would terminate upon the death of either party or upon the recipient’s remarriage). § 61.08 now states that no alimony is appropriate in a short-term marriage in the absence of special circumstances (in other words, a rebuttable presumption exists against an award of alimony in marriages of less than seven years). An award of alimony in a long-term marriage is presumed to be appropriate by law. Specifically, however, the new amendment has lengthened the amount of time parties must be married before a party will have a strong claim for permanent alimony .
The basis for an award of any type of alimony in Florida has long been one party’s need for financial support and the other party’s ability to pay. In determining whether alimony is appropriate, the court will conduct a factual evaluation of the financial status of the parties, focusing on need and ability to pay. The court will consider certain factors including:
If the court determines that alimony is appropriate, it will then determine what type of alimony is to be awarded. Florida law has always recognized that the length or duration of a marriage is directly relevant to an award of alimony, especially permanent alimony; categorizing marriages as short-term, moderate, and long-term. The duration of a marriage in Florida is measured from the date of the marriage to the date of the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Under the new statutory revisions, the durational time frames are now set forth as follows:
The recent changes to Florida’s alimony law apply to all initial alimony awards entered after July 1, 2010 and the modification of these awards.
If you are currently involved in a divorce case or are considering filing for divorce, it is important that you contact our experienced alimony attorney in Orlando to determine whether the recent changes to the alimony statute will affect your case. To set up a consultation today, contact our Orlando family law lawyers at 407-426-6999.