At this point in time there are no set specific rules for an award of alimony in Florida. Frequently, I get calls from client and hear things like - there is no alimony if we have only been married for 3 years. Or, we have been married 9 years, if we don't get divorced now I will have to pay alimony. Neither of these statements is true. Of all of the areas of family law or divorce law, alimony is the most fact specific and the area that MOST requires a knowledgeable attorney to assess your case. To begin with, there are multiple types of alimony in Florida and each one is for a different purpose and would be applicable under different circumstances. The basic question in all alimony cases is does one party have an ability to pay alimony and does the other party have a need for alimony. Alimony, in general, is intended to help put people on somewhat equal footing. VERY generally speaking, alimony awards can be from 0% of the payor's income to 50% or more of their income depending on the facts. Many types of alimony are modifiable after they are entered in a divorce upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstance, some types of alimony are not modifiable. Alimony is typically taxable as income to the recipient and tax deductible for the payor. In brief, the types of alimony are:
Bridge the Gap: Meant to assist a person from transitioning from married life to single life. Cannot exceed 2 years. Can be ordered in even a short term marriage when applicable.
Rehabilitative: Meant to assist a person in returning to the work force or developing a career plan upon the end of a marriage. Requires the person receiving support to have a specific plan of rehabilitating themselves. This could be completing a master's degree or getting a certification.
Durational: An alternative to permanent alimony and typically used when permanent alimony is not applicable. It cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
Permanent: Alimony intended to supplement the recipient's expenses in a long term way. It may be awarded following a marriage of long duration, moderate duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2) of the statute, or short duration if there are exceptional circumstances.