In Florida, alimony is a continued obligation of one spouse to support the other. When determining whether alimony is appropriate, the courts must determine whether the parties have an actual need for alimony and whether the other party has an ability to pay. Alimony is available to either party. Once the court makes the determination that alimony is an appropriate under the circumstances, it may then determine which form of alimony is appropriate. Generally in Florida, marriages are divided into three types based on their duration;”short-term” 1-7 years, “moderate-term” 7-17 years, and “long-term” 17 years and longer. Florida has five types of alimony available: Alimony pendente lite, Bridge-the-Gap, Rehabilitative, Durational, and Permanent Alimony.
Alimony pendente lite, or “pending litigation” is a type of alimony which is available to the parties while litigation of the dissolution of marriage is pending. Bridge-the-Gap alimony is a form of alimony which provided to help one spouse transition from married to single life. Bridge-the-Gap alimony may not exceed two years in duration and may not be modified or terminated. Rehabilitative Alimony is limited in amount and may be modified or terminated. The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to help a party redevelop or acquire skills which are needed to become self-supporting. Durational alimony is awarded following marriages of short or medium durations, for a fixed period of time, not longer than the marriage. The amount may be modified and terminates upon the death of their party or upon the remarriage of the recipient. Lastly, permanent alimony is awarded following marriages of long duration, or marriages of short or medium durations, dependent upon the circumstances of the marriage. As was the case with Durational alimony, permanent alimony may be modified and terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the recipient.