Florida has 4 Types of Alimony: Bridge-the-gap, Rehabilitative, Durational, and Permanent – What’s the Difference?

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Pursuant to Title VI, Civil Practice and Procedure, Chapter 61, Dissolution of Marriage; Support; Time-Sharing, Section 61.08, Alimony, Florida courts may grant alimony to either party, which may be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent in nature or award any combination of these types of alimony.

Bridge-the-gap alimony is an unmodifiable alimony award that provides a party financial assistance to aid that party in transitioning from being marriage to being single. It is designed to assist the party with any legitimate and identifiable short-term needs. The length of any bridge-the-gap alimony award cannot exceed 2 years and will terminate upon the death of either party or if the receiving spouse remarries.

Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to assist a party in “establishing the capacity for self-support through either: (1) the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or (2) the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.” Fl. St. § 61.08(6). A specific an defined rehabilitative plan must exist in order to receive this type of award. This type of alimony may be modifiable and terminated in accordance with Florida Law based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon noncompliance or completion with the rehabilitative plan.

Durational alimony provides a party with financial assistance for a set period time and should be awarded in circumstances where permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. This type of alimony is the most appropriate award regarding short- or moderate-term marriages. Durational alimony may also be modified or terminated based upon substantial changes in circumstances, in accordance with Florida Law. However, the length of a durational award may not be modified except under exception circumstances and may never exceed the length of the marriage.

Permanent alimony provides the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage to a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities following a divorce. Permanent alimony is most appropriate regarding long-term marriages, but may also be awarded to a party in a moderate- or short-marriage if the circumstances are proper. This award is terminated upon death of either party or upon remarriage of the receiving spouse. An award can be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship.

The Florida Legislature recently made amendments to the Florida Alimony Statute to include bridge-the-gap and durational forms of alimony. Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney to discuss your financial needs and the type of alimony that is most appropriate for you.