Alimony



The following is a condensed, paraphrased, summary of Florida Statutes, Chapter 61.08, which governs the determination of Alimony in dissolution of marriage proceedings in Florida.

(This complete statute may be viewed by clicking the following link:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.08.html)


As part of a divorce case, the Court may award alimony to either party, after making certain, statutorily-required, factual findings to support an award (or denial of a request for an alimony award). 

When a party requests alimony the Court must first make a threshold determination as to the requesting party's ACTUAL NEED for alimony and the other party's ABILITY TO PAY alimony.  If the Court, after making this specific factual determination, finds that there is no ACTUAL NEED of alimony for the requesting party, or that the other party has no ABILITY TO PAY alimony to the requesting party, then an alimony request will be denied and no alimony will be awarded to the requesting party.  On the other hand, if the Court determines that there is an ACTUAL NEED and an ABILITY TO PAY, then the Court's analysis continues and it then must determine the proper TYPE and AMOUNT of alimony to be awarded to the requesting party.  In making that determination, the Court must consider ALL RELEVANT FACTORS, including, but not limited to:

(a) The standard of living established during the marriage.
(b) The duration of the marriage.
(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
(d) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
(e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
(f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.
(h) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.
(i) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.
(j) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
 
Also, the Court may consider the ADULTERY OF EITHER SPOUSE and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.
 
TYPES OF ALIMONY:
 
(1) Temporary alimony
 
This is an award of alimony during the divorce proceeding, also known as alimony pendent lite.  This award is automatically terminated upon the entry of the formal divorce decree and may be replaced by one of the other types of alimony.
 
(2) Bridge-the-gap alimony
 
This type of alimony may be awarded to assist a party by providing support to allow the party to make a transition from being married to being single, and is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs.  The length of an award may not exceed 2 years, terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony, and shall not be modifiable in amount or duration.
 
(3) Rehabilitative alimony
 
This type of aliomny may be 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.  In order to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan which shall be included as a part of any order awarding rehabilitative alimony.  An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated when:
(a) there is a subsequent, (i) substantial change of circumstances (ii) that was not contemplated at the time of final judgment of dissolution (iii) that is sufficient, material, involuntary, and permanent in nature.
(b) upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or
(c) upon completion of the rehabilitative plan.
 
(4) Durational alimony
 
This type of alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a short term marriage (presumed to be less than 7 years) or marriage of moderate duration (presumed to be more than 7 but less than 17 years) or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. The amount of an award of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances in accordance with s. 61.14. However, the length of an award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.
 
(5) Permanent alimony
 
This type of alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2), following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate based upon clear and convincing evidence after consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2), or following a marriage of short duration if there are written findings of exceptional circumstances. In awarding permanent alimony, the court shall include a finding that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship in accordance with s. 61.14.