When a couple decides to get a divorce, the topic of spousal support payments (A.K.A. alimony) inevitably comes up. It’s one of the most financially and mentally draining aspects of a divorce, and understanding how the various types of payments may help you in the long run.
In Florida, there are five types of alimony:
1. Temporary Alimony
Temporary alimony can be granted when a divorce case is pending in the Florida courts. These payments are made to the spouse who may need financial support through the divorce process. This type of alimony ends once the divorce is finalized.
2. Bridge-the-Gap Alimony
This short-term alimony requires alimony payments to be made for a maximum of two years after a divorce. This type usually focuses on short-term needs such as selling property, or finishing an education program.
3. Rehabilitative Alimony
Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to a partner who needs financial assistance to help pay for training or education required to obtain a job to become self-supporting after a period of time. The spouse desiring the same must submit a specific plan that lays out the time frame and amount of funds needed for this.
4. Durational Alimony
If one partner was dependent on the other during a short-term marriage (7 years or less) or a moderate-term marriage (7-17 years), they may be eligible for durational alimony. These payments will stop at a predetermined date and cannot last longer than the length of the marriage.
5. Permanent Alimony
Permanent alimony may be awarded in a long term marriage (over 17 years) if one of the spouses is found to not be able to support themselves financially or maintain the same standard of living as when the couple was married.
Oftentimes, alimony payments can be terminated or modified upon certain specific circumstances. It depends on a number of factors, including the circumstances of both parties and the type of alimony being paid.
Bridge-the-Gap Alimony: This type cannot generally be terminated or modified.
Rehabilitative Alimony: If the awarded spouse fails to complete the training specified in the plan, a court may choose to modify or cancel the alimony. Additionally, if there has been a significant change in the situation or living circumstances, this can also affect a court’s decision.
Durational Alimony: A significant change in circumstances may also affect whether a court decided to alter these alimony payments.
Permanent Alimony: Permanent alimony can be terminated if either spouse passes or the spouse receiving the alimony gets remarried or is in a supportive relationship. Significant unforeseen and permanent changes may also affect alimony in this case as well.
When pursuing a modification of alimony in the state of Florida, you must prove that there has been a “Substantial Change in Circumstances that was unknown at the time of the divorce.” If this requirement is not met, you will not be successful in modifying the alimony payments.
Some of the “Substantial Changes” that can affect alimony may include:
– Health issues and medical expenses
– Long-term unemployment
– Decreased ability to make the payments that is involuntary
– Changes in the financials of the awarded spouses
– If the awarded spouse cohabitates with another person
– If the awarded spouse gets remarried
It’s extremely important to hire a family lawyer that is experienced and has tried matters involving alimony to represent you. Alimony payments can have lifelong effects that can be properly defended with the right legal counsel. Yaffa Family Law Group has experienced family lawyers dedicated to getting their clients what they deserve. Call (561)276-3880 or visit our website at yaffafamilylawgroup.com to book a complimentary consultation.