All Alimony Awards are Not the Same

Section 61.08, Florida Statutes, and relevant case law, provides for several different types of alimony awards.  The likelihood of receiving each type of award depends on several different factors, including the need of one spouse for support, the ability of the other spouse to pay for that support, and the length of the marriage.  Below is a brief description of available types of alimony:

  • Permanent Periodic Alimony–  This type of alimony is regularly ordered for long-term marriages, defined as lasting for 17 years or more.  However, it may be awarded in (i) medium-term marriages (7-16 years) depending on certain factors such as the contribution of each party during the marriage and the standard of living during the marriage or (ii) short-term marriages (up to 6 years) if there are exceptional circumstances, such as a spouse contracting a debilitating disease.  As the name suggests, this award lasts for an indefinite amount of time and is paid on a regular basis.  However, it may later be modified or terminated by court order if there is a substantial change in circumstances.

  • Durational Alimony– This type of alimony is generally reserved for medium-term marriages or where permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate.  Durational alimony lasts no longer than the length of the marriage (so, for example, if the marriage lasted for 8 years, then a durational alimony award will only be paid for 8 years after divorce).  Like permanent periodic alimony, durational alimony may be modified or terminated if there is a substantial change in circumstances.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony– This type of alimony is mostly associated with short- or medium-term marriages and is designed to help a party become self-supporting through education or redevelopment of previous skills that may have gone unused during the marriage.  A party asking for rehabilitative alimony must provide an education or training plan that demonstrates how rehabilitation will be accomplished.  Rehabilitative alimony will be terminated upon completion of the plan.  Additionally, it may be modified or terminated upon a showing of non-completion of the plan or a substantial change in circumstances.
  • Bridge-the-Gap Alimony– This type of alimony is mainly associated with short- or medium-term marriages, and is designed to help a spouse cope with legitimate, identifiable short-term needs.  This alimony is meant to help a spouse go from being married to be single (in other words, bridge the gap from married life to single life).  An award of bridge-the-gap alimony may not exceed 2 years, and may not be modified.
  • Lump Sum Alimony– This type of alimony is generally used to settle property issues, and may be awarded in long-, medium-, or short-term marriages.  This alimony is generally paid from one spouse to another in one lump sum, though it may be broken up into more than one payment.  Lump sum alimony is non-modifiable.
  • Temporary Alimony– Pursuant to section 61.071, Florida Statutes, a judge may award this type of alimony during the divorce or family proceeding.  Temporary alimony is designed to provide for living expenses while the case is ongoing, and is more likely to be awarded in a long- or medium-term marriage.  Temporary alimony may be modified or terminated at any time if found appropriate by the presiding judge.  Additionally, this type of alimony terminates once a final judgment is entered (at which point, one of the other types of alimony may commence).

About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
This entry was posted in Family Law Explanation and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s