How Long Will I Need to Make Alimony Payments?

Once a couple files for divorce, many issues must be discussed almost immediately, none more pressing than financial obligation. If spouses split and each has gainful employment, alimony matters may come up, but they may not require emergency intervention, like an early support request. While every marriage doesn’t end with an alimony order, it’s a real possibility if one spouse outearns the other by a significant amount. Alimony can also be awarded if a low-earning or unemployed spouse sacrifices employment opportunities to support their spouse’s career advancement.

The type and length of an alimony order will be impacted by many factors like:

  • Length of the Marriage
  • Age of Spouses
  • Mental and Physical Health of Each Spouse
  • Couple’s Standard of Living
  • Education and Training Plans of an Unemployed/Uneducated Spouse

While there are many factors that a judge can consider when determining the size and duration of an alimony award, it’s important to note that most forms of spousal support are awarded with a predetermined end date.

Types of Alimony

Florida law allows for five types of alimony awards. A judge can award a type of alimony or a combination of types, which will dictate the length of the order. Alimony orders can be paid in a lump sum or periodically.

The five types of alimony awarded in Florida are:

Temporary Alimony: Temporary alimony is awarded while a couple is working through the terms of their divorce. It typically lasts as long as the divorce isn’t finalized, and it ends when the judgment is finalized.

Bridge Alimony: It is sometimes referred to as bridge the gap alimony, it helps a low earning or unemployed spouse transition into single life. Bridge alimony is awarded as a transitional support payment targeted to cover specific expenses, especially those that a spouse covered for the recipient.

Rehabilitative Alimony: Rehabilitative alimony is like bridge alimony, and it’s a targeted award. Where bridge alimony is usually targeted to handle living expenses, rehabilitative alimony targets specific fees and expenses for educational or training programs to help an unemployed or uneducated spouse gain a skill set that will help them become financially independent.

Durational Alimony: When alimony is awarded after the dissolution of a short or moderately long marriage, it’s limited by the length of the marriage. For example, if a moderately long marriage lasted seven years, the disadvantaged spouse can be awarded durational alimony for seven years or less. Durational alimony is common in marriages where one spouse has significant financial disadvantages.

Permanent Alimony: When a long-term marriage ends, it can be permanently destructive to the financial health of the disadvantaged spouse. Permanent alimony can be granted when a long-term marriage ends. A long-term marriage is usually defined as one longer than ten years. As the name suggests, permanent alimony lasts indefinitely, and it only ends because of death, remarriage, or a financial windfall.

Marriage length is a primary factor when deciding an alimony order. Some types of alimony can only be awarded if a marriage meets the length requirements. Durational alimony cannot last longer than the length of the marriage, and permanent alimony isn’t awarded in a short-term marriage.

  • A short-term marriage lasts seven years or less
  • A moderate-term marriage lasts between 17 years and seven.
  • A long-term marriage must have lasted at least 17 years.

Every divorce is different and unique, and each outcome will be reached based on the details of the ending marriage. The court will review the details of a case to determine if alimony is fair and necessary.

Get in Touch with a Clearwater Divorce Lawyer Today

If you have concerns about alimony or you think you should receive an alimony order in your case, contact the Clearwater divorce attorneys at Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. Our attorneys can meet with you to review the details of your case. Call today at (727) 245-9009.