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What are the different the types of alimony in Florida?

When a Florida couple goes through a legal dissolution of marriage in a court of law, depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the court may award alimony to one of the parties, which must be paid by the other party. In Florida, there are four categories that alimony can fall under. These are bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational or permanent alimony.

When a court awards alimony to a party, the payment can be either a one-time lump sum or periodic payments that are usually made monthly. In order for alimony to be awarded, the court will make a determination as to whether there is a need for alimony by either party and, if so, will then consider whether the other party is financially capable of paying alimony.

If a court deems it necessary for alimony to be paid by either party, then a number of factors are taken into account in determining the type and amount of alimony that is to be paid. These factors include the standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage, how long the marriage lasted and the earning capabilities of both parties.

A court will typically award bridge-the-gap alimony when the party in need of alimony requires the money to assist in their transition from being married, while they acclimate to the single life again. This type of alimony may not persist beyond 2 years and will terminate if either party dies, or if the recipient remarries. It is also not amendable or modifiable once decreed.

A durational alimony is similar in most respects to bridge-the-gap alimony, except that it is modifiable and can also be terminated at the courts discretion at a later date. Unlike bridge-the-gap alimony, the length of a durational alimony can be changed in certain exceptional conditions, but may not exceed the length of the marriage itself.

Permanent alimony on the other hand is awarded on a permanent basis to help a party that cannot reasonably be expected to financially meet and maintain their needs in life. It is amendable by the court at any time. Permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or if the recipient remarries.

Source: FL.us, "Chapter 61 - Dissolution of Marriage; Support; Time-Sharing," accessed on Dec. 29, 2014

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