When Does Alimony End in Florida?
Whether you are recently divorced or have been separated for years, you may be wondering what Florida law has to say about how long alimony lasts. That is a fair question considering that unlike child custody, Florida divorce law does not mandate specific guidelines on how long alimony will be awarded. Today, we discuss the length of alimony awards and the factors that impact its duration.
The Length of an Alimony Award
Florida Statue 61.08 governs all things alimony related. Under these laws, there is a presumption of alimony duration, which includes:
Short term marriages
Marriages that have a duration of less than 7 years
Marriages that have a duration greater than 7 years but less than 17 years
Marriages that have a duration of 17 years or more
The length of an alimony award depends on the duration of the marriage itself. Therefore, short, or moderate-term marriages will have a shorter alimony period than a long-term marriage would. It is rare for alimony to exceed the duration of a short or moderate-term marriage. The length of the marriage is considered the time from the date of the marriage itself until the date of filing an action for dissolution.
To figure out how long alimony lasts in Florida, we first must look at the different types of alimony available. There are four types of alimony under Florida law: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent. The duration of each type of alimony varies according to the law.
Bridge-the-Gap Alimony Duration
One type of alimony that may be awarded is bridge-the-gap alimony, which is granted to assist the receiving spouse through the transition period of being married to single. Bridge-the-gap alimony may not exceed 2 years and will terminate upon the death of either party or if the receiving party remarries.
Rehabilitative Alimony Duration
Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to the receiving party to aid in his/her self-support and or self-sufficiency after the divorce. The alimony may be used to help this party acquire education, training, or necessary work experience or redevelop such skills. To award this type of alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan in place. Rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated due to a substantial change in circumstances, noncompliance with the established plan, or completion of the plan.
Durational Alimony Length
Durational alimony may be awarded to provide the receiving spouse with economic assistance for a certain period. Such an award will be terminated upon the death of either party or if the receiving party gets remarried. The length of durational alimony cannot be modified except in the event of an exceptional circumstance and shall not exceed the length of the marriage itself.
Permanent Alimony Duration
Permanent alimony is granted when one party needs help due to a financial inability to meet his/her life necessities following a divorce. Permanent alimony may be granted following a marriage of short duration, moderate duration, or long duration when appropriate.
An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of their party or when the receiving spouse remarries. This kind of alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change of circumstances.
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