The state of Florida awards several types of alimony in divorce cases, depending on each family's situation and the duration of the marriage. According to state law, marriages lasting 17 years or more are considered long-term. Marriages lasting between 7 and 17 years are moderate-term, and those lasting less than 7 years are short-term.
The three major categories of alimony are lump sum, permanent, and temporary. Lump sum alimony is a one-time payment to one party. According to the American Safety Council, permanent alimony is most often awarded to one spouse at the dissolution of a long-term marriage, but it may also be applied to short-term and moderate-term marriage in very particular circumstances. The purpose of permanent alimony is to maintain the standard of living that the couple had enjoyed during their marriage, especially if the receiving spouse cannot work. This type of alimony does not expire until one spouse dies.
Within the category of alimony that is not permanent, recipients may be granted one of several different types. Rehabilitative alimony may assist a person in pursuing training or education to reenter the work force. The argument for this type of alimony is that the recipient has stepped away from the work force to care for the family, or to further the other spouse’s career. Therefore, the receiving spouse may need financial help to prepare to work again. The recipient of this type of alimony must present a plan regarding how the financial assistance will be utilized.
The three other types of temporary alimony are similarly limited. Bridge-the-gap alimony offers financial assistance to a spouse who demonstrates financial need for a short period of time. Temporary alimony only awards money until the divorce proceedings are complete and covers the divorce fees for the recipient. Durational alimony may be awarded to a spouse for as many years as the marriage lasted, and no longer.