What determines the amount and length of alimony payments?

Alimony isn't always awarded in divorces. However, when it is, it's to help bridge the gap between the couple's respective pay gaps and living arrangements. Bridge-the-gap awards generally do not last longer than two years. It can also be awarded as rehabilitative compensation, which is there to support the person receiving it until they can work and support themselves. Durational alimony lasts a specified amount of time. Permanent alimony generally lasts a lifetime or until a person remarries.

Does the length of a marriage matter?

Yes, it does. If you've been married only a short time, you likely will not receive the same amount of alimony as if you had been married for several decades. The court must determine if there is a need for alimony at all. Sometimes both parties are well-off enough to disregard alimony.

Why is permanent alimony still a possibility?

For some, especially those in long-term marriages, permanent alimony can help support a person who no longer has the skills or money to support him or herself. For instance, a stay-at-home mom may have been out of work for so long that her potential for earning enough to support herself would be decreased. When younger, this person may be able to receive rehabilitative alimony to cover the costs associated with going back to school, but when not, permanent alimony can support the person for the remainder of his or her life.

If you have questions about alimony or the kinds that you might be able to obtain, your attorney will have more information. Depending on the length of your marriage, alimony could be a monetary award that helps you more than you expected.

Source: Online Sunshine, "The 2016 Florida Statutes," accessed Aug. 12, 2016

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