The types of alimony that a judge can award
There are four different types of periodic alimony that are available for the trial court to award:
- Bridge the gap alimony: Bridge the gap alimony is limited to fewer than two years and terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. Such alimony may not be modifiable in amount or duration. This type of alimony is appropriate in short-term marriages.
- Rehabilitative alimony: Rehabilitative alimony is alimony awarded to enable a person to become rehabilitated or to receive some type of educational background, which would allow them to become self-sufficient. A rehabilitative alimony request must be presented with a specific plan outlining the plan of rehabilitation. Rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated based either upon a substantial change of circumstances, non-compliance with rehabilitative plan or completion of the plan.
- Durational alimony: Durational alimony is a new type of alimony, and it fills in the gap between bridge the gap and permanent periodic alimony. It provides for support for a marriage of short or moderate duration. It will terminate upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. The amount of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon substantial changes of circumstances. The length of durational alimony may not be modified except under substantial circumstances and is limited to the length of the marriage. Generally, we see most courts awarding duration alimony in a term equaling 50 percent of the marriage.
- Permanent periodic alimony: Permanent periodic alimony is awarded for a marriage of long duration, a marriage of moderate duration if appropriate considering the factors in the statute, or following a marriage of short duration if there are some exceptional circumstances. As always, this type of alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. It may also be modified or terminated based upon substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship in accordance with Florida Statute 61.14.￼
Lump-sum alimony may also be utilized by the court in fashioning a fair distribution of assets and earning capabilities. This type of alimony is more rare and is generally used to convey property from one spouse to another.