Will I Have to Pay Alimony Forever in Florida?

Generally, no. Judges are often hesitant to order paying spouses to pay alimony (sometimes called “spousal maintenance”) to their ex-spouse permanently. The main purpose of alimony is to give former spouses some level of security until they become self-sufficient. However, as we’ll cover below, there are exceptions to this rule. After you gain a better understanding of the four types of Florida alimony, you should get a better idea of the chances you will be ordered to pay permanent alimony. 

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony

The longest a former spouse can receive bridge-the-gap alimony is two years. The purpose of this type of alimony is to cover necessary expenses in the immediate aftermath of a divorce. For instance, it can be ordered until the spouse receiving bridge-the-gap alimony simply gets a job or pays a security deposit on a new apartment. This alimony type cannot be modified or canceled. 

Durational Alimony

This type of alimony occupies a certain middle ground between shorter alimony types (like bridge-the-gap) and longer alimony types (permanent alimony). Durational alimony cannot last for a period longer than the marriage’s duration. This type of alimony ends when the receiving spouse remarries or either spouse passes away. It may be modified if a substantial change in circumstances comes into play. 

Rehabilitative Alimony

This alimony type is designed to give ex-spouses economic security while they gain experience, schooling, or credentialing necessary to become self-sufficient. What’s unique about rehabilitative alimony is the requirement that the receiving spouse submit a comprehensive plan to become self-sufficient. This type of alimony can be modified by a substantial change in circumstances, completion of the rehabilitation plan, or non-compliance with the plan. 

Permanent Alimony

Yes, in rare situations, an ex-spouse might need to indefinitely pay alimony. When permanent alimony is awarded, it is almost always after a long marriage (17 years or longer in Florida). Furthermore, permanent alimony is often awarded when the receiving spouse has a permanent disability or some other condition that prevents them from becoming self-sufficient. Permanent alimony ends when either spouse dies, the receiving spouse remarries or otherwise enters into a “supportive” relationship, or a substantial change in circumstances occurs. 

Alimony and Child Support Are Somewhat Connected

Receiving alimony does not mean you cannot also receive child support in Florida. However, the paying spouse may pay less in child support than he or she would otherwise because of existing alimony payments. In Florida, child support payment calculations are based, in part, on the paying spouse’s income. After the paying spouse deducts alimony from his or her income, the child support payments will naturally be less. Still, there are numerous other factors that determine the proper child support arrangement independent of alimony. 

We Can Help Get You What You Deserve

If you are seeking alimony from your soon-to-be ex-spouse, let us know and we can help make sure you get what you deserve. If you are worried about having to pay a large amount of your income in alimony, we can help ensure that the amount is fair and reasonable. We’ll be with you every step of the way during your divorce. Call us today at (305) 227-4030 to set up a consultation.