How Long Do I Have To Pay Alimony in Florida?

When a marriage in Florida ends through divorce, one party may be ordered to provide financial support to the other. This financial support is known as alimony. However, how long a person might need to pay alimony can seem confusing. Below, The Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. provides an easy-to-understand summary of Florida’s alimony statutes, specifically focusing on the length of time one might be expected to pay alimony.

What Is Alimony?
Alimony is financial support awarded by the court in a divorce proceeding. The main goal is to minimize any unfair economic impacts one spouse might suffer due to the divorce, especially if they were less financially independent during the marriage.

Types Of Alimony In Florida And Their Duration
Florida courts can now only grant three types of alimony. Each has a different purpose and duration.

Bridge-The-Gap Alimony
This type of alimony aids a party transitioning to single life. It’s meant to address short-term concerns and cannot exceed two years. This support ends if the recipient remarries or if either party passes away. Once decided, the amount or duration of this alimony cannot be modified.

Rehabilitative Alimony
This is designed to help a spouse become self-sufficient through redevelopment of previous skills or by gaining new ones. There has to be a clear plan in place for this type of alimony to be granted. If circumstances significantly change, if the recipient doesn’t comply with the plan, or the plan is complete, this alimony may be changed or terminated.

Durational Alimony
This type of alimony is for providing financial assistance for a set duration of time. The duration of this alimony is based upon a percentage of the length of the marriage and will terminate if the recipient gets married again, if either party passes away, or if the recipient spouse is in a supportive financial relationship with another person. The amount can be changed or halted based on a significant change in financial circumstances, but altering the length of the award generally does not happen and requires exceptional circumstances.

Permanent Alimony
Permanent alimony has been eliminated in the State of Florida for all new or pending cases as of 7-1-2023. Previously, permanent alimony was granted to provide for the needs of a party who is unable to financially support themselves after the marriage ends. It was generally awarded after a long-term marriage. This alimony terminates upon the death of either party, the recipient’s remarriage, retirement of the payor spouse (effective 7-1-2023), or the existence of a supportive financial relationship without having to prove cohabitation (effective 7-1-2023).

Factors That Influence The Alimony Decision
The court will consider various factors when deciding to award alimony and its type. These include how long they were married, the spouses’ standard of living, age, physical and emotional condition of each party, financial resources of both parties, earning capacities, contributions to the marriage, etc.

Securing The Alimony Award
The court may order the party responsible for paying alimony to secure the alimony award with a life insurance policy, bond, or other suitable assets. This is done to ensure the alimony is paid as ordered.

Payment Of Alimony
In general, the court orders the payment of alimony to be made through an appropriate state depository. However, if both parties agree, the alimony payments may not need to be directed through such a governmental depository. In case of defaults or arrearages in payment, either party can apply to initiate participation in the depository program through an Income Deduction Order.

Alimony laws can be complex and vary depending on the specifics of the case. Understanding the key aspects of Florida’s alimony law, as outlined above, can provide a clearer idea of what to expect when facing a divorce proceeding.

FAQ
How Long Does Bridge-The-Gap Alimony Last In Florida?
Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to aid a spouse who needs help transitioning to single life. The length of this alimony type cannot exceed two years.

Can The Duration Of Bridge-The-Gap Alimony Be Extended?
No, the length of bridge-the-gap alimony is generally non-modifiable, meaning once it’s decided, it cannot be extended beyond the initially determined period.

Is There A Specific Period For Rehabilitative Alimony?
Effective 7-1-2023, rehabilitative alimony cannot last longer than 5 years. It is awarded to assist a spouse in gaining necessary education or experience to facilitate self-support. The duration is generally defined by the length of the rehabilitative plan.

Can Rehabilitative Alimony Be Changed Or Stopped?
Yes, rehabilitative alimony can be modified or terminated based on a significant change in circumstances, noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the plan.

How Long Can I Receive Or Have To Pay Durational Alimony?
Durational alimony is granted for a set period of time. The length of this alimony is 50% for a short term marriage (0 – 10 years); 60% for a mid-term marriage (10 – 20 years); and 75% for a long-term marriage (over 20 years). It will also terminate upon the recipient’s remarriage, death of either party, or the existence of a supportive financial relationship.

Can The Duration Of Durational Alimony Be Changed?
Generally speaking, no it can’t. Modifying the length of durational alimony requires exceptional circumstances.

What Is Considered A Short-Term, Moderate-Term, And Long-Term Marriage In Florida?
A marriage of short duration is fewer than 10 years, a marriage of moderate duration is greater than 10 years but fewer than 20 years, and a marriage of long duration is 20 years or more.

How Is The Duration Of Alimony Payments Impacted By Remarriage Or Death?
In most cases, alimony payments will stop if the recipient gets married again or if either the payor or recipient dies.

How Are Alimony Payments Typically Made?
Unless both parties agree otherwise, alimony payments are usually made through an appropriate state governmental depository by income deduction order and as directed by the court.

Contact A Sarasota Florida Alimony Lawyer
When approaching the complex terrain of Florida divorce, don’t navigate alone. The Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A., excels in legal counsel and exceptional client service for those who are navigating family law matters, and is your beacon during these challenging times. With integrity, accountability, and compassion, Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, FL Attorney Matthew Z. Martell supports you in the intricate alimony processes. His skills and dedication ensure that you’re not just a number, but a priority. Whether you’re dealing with durational alimony, rehabilitative alimony, or bridge-the-gap alimony, you can trust our experienced team to deliver the best possible outcome for your case. Remember, when it comes to alimony in Florida, each case is unique and requires individual attention. Don’t settle for less. Reach out to us today at (941) 556-7020 or get in touch online to start your journey towards fair resolution with a trusted, compassionate ally in your corner.

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