After years of back and forth, SB 1796 was finally advanced to our governor earlier this summer. The bill would have eliminated permanent alimony, in addition to creating a legal presumption that equally split co-parenting is in the best interest of the child. However, it was vetoed by the governor, so, as it turns out, Florida alimony is not changing.
What are the types of alimony here?
Every state has different rules on alimony as there is no federal requirement. In our state, there are four types of alimony: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational and permanent alimony.
Bridge-the-gap alimony helps the receiving spouse transition into a single life. In the divorce decree, it will last for no more than two years, and it is only designed to meet identifiable, short-term needs. The most common scenario where this is awarded is where a spouse would be destitute until they are able to find an employer or until assets, like the family home, or sold.
Another type is rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony is utilized for a spouse that will need education, training or additional work experience to attain gainful employment and financial independence. There is no predetermined length for this type of alimony, and the divorce decree will be based on how long the judge believes the spouse will need to become “rehabilitated.”
The most common scenario for this type of alimony involves one spouse who was a stay-at-home spouse or parent for an extended period of time while the other spouse built and advanced their career. As a result, to re-entry to the workforce immediately would be extremely difficult, and the former stay-at-home spouse would be left destitute.
Permanent alimony is only awarded where no other type of alimony is “fair and reasonable” because there is no path to self-sufficiency for the receiving spouse. The goal of permanent alimony is to support the receiving spouses need at the same established level during the marriage, and it lasts until the recipient remarries or either ex-spouse passes away. The most common scenario for this is when the spouse is disabled or so elderly that they cannot reasonably be expected to re-start work.
Durational alimony is yet another type of alimony. It is used when bridge-the-gap alimony would be too short, but permanent alimony would be too long.