When it comes to legal matters, people often speak in broad terms. They will discuss rulings, orders, and so on, bypassing the “nitty-gritty” of the matter. Because of this habit, we are often left underinformed about how things really work.
Spousal support is one such legal matter. Generally, we hear about someone who must pay for it and how much it costs, but we don’t know many details beyond that.
You may be surprised to learn that, in Florida, there are actually different types of spousal support, also called “alimony.”
Here is a list of those types, their functions, and some descriptions of how long they typically last.
- Durational Alimony
Generally, alimony is supposed to keep people financially afloat. Even in our modern times, one spouse usually makes less money than the other and relies on them to stay fed, clothed, and so forth. In some cases, alimony is simply necessary for survival. A spouse who is immediately cut off from the marriage could quickly become destitute.
Durational spousal support is for divorces where each spouse is in a comfortable financial position. Perhaps they both have gainful employment, and neither will be in dire straits without the other. Even so, divorce could have an impact on either party, so durational support helps them even out their finances for a bit.
Durational alimony cannot last longer than the length of the marriage, so courts generally reserve it for shorter marriages.
- Rehabilitative Alimony
This form of spousal support helps someone stay financially healthy while they work toward independence. Maybe the receiving spouse is pursuing a higher education, or they just received their degree in a high-demand field. In these cases, they need help until they can secure their new job and get accustomed to relying on themselves. Rehabilitative spousal support is temporary, meant to end once the receiver gains this independence.
Spouses who receive rehabilitative alimony must prove that they are working toward their goal of self-reliance. If, for instance, the receiver drops out of school or suddenly pursues a different career path, the court can cut off their support.
- Bridge-the-Gap Alimony
This form of alimony, like the others above, is also temporary. It helps people make the transition into singlehood, “bridging the gap.” Courts can identify specific short-term needs, and they specifically order bridge-the-gap spousal support to meet these needs.
- Permanent Alimony
Just as the name suggests, permanent alimony is a life-long obligation. Courts will typically consider all other options before ordering this form of spousal support.
Generally, permanent alimony assumes that the receiver cannot achieve financial independence on their own. Perhaps they spent the last 30 years being a stay-at-home spouse, and their job prospects are grim.
Often, spousal support is designed to help someone maintain their current lifestyle. Imagine a wealthy couple where only one spouse brings in the money. When this couple divorces, it would be almost impossible for the other spouse to continue living lavishly. Permanent spousal support would be appropriate in situations like this as well.
Our firm is here to help negotiate a fair spousal support agreement for all. If you need help, schedule time with us online or call us now at (407) 753-4111.