There are several types of Florida alimony. Alimony is based on the need for financial assistance, and the financial ability of the other party to assist. The first is called “bridge the gap” alimony. It is an amount of money paid to a party so that they can get themselves situated in life following a divorce. A party for example may need money for a security deposit on an apartment, or for a down payment on a car so that they can go to work. “Rehabilitative” alimony is money paid by one party to someone who needs education or retraining in order to get into the work force and make enough money to sustain themselves. That party seeking such alimony has to present a rehabilitation plan to the Broward Court and show that it is going to lead to them becoming self sustaining.
If the marriage is long enough, a party may be required to pay permanent alimony to the other party. Permanent alimony would be paid where one party simply does not have enough funds to sustain themselves (or sustain themselves in the lifestyle they are accustomed to), and the other party has the ability financially speaking to assist them. All assets of a party are considered by the Florida divorce court in assessing need for assistance or ability to pay alimony. This means that even non-marital assets of the parties are considered.
Florida also has “durational alimony”. This is alimony payable for a set period of time. An award of durational alimony may not be modified with regard to the length, except under exceptional circumstances, and may not exceed the length of the marriage. The amount of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change of circumstances. Failure to pay alimony as ordered can result in a finding of contempt of court and the non paying partying may have to pay the attorney fees incurred by the other in enforcing the alimony order.
Alimony as a general proposition can be modified based upon a substantial change of circumstances, although bridge the gap alimony is not modifiable as to amount or duration. The Broward divorce Court may reduce or terminate an award of alimony upon specific written findings that since the granting of the divorce and the award of alimony, a supportive relationship has existed between the party receiving alimony and a person with whom they reside. Thus it is no longer necessary to show that a party has remarried in order to have alimony terminated. A supportive relationship exists when the parties are basically carrying on as husband and wife, even though they are not married.
The Court will consider the period of time that the parties have resided together in a permanent place of abode, the extent to which the parties have pooled there assets or income or otherwise exhibited financial interdependence, the extent to which the party receiving alimony or the other person has supported the other in whole or in part. (And there are other factors that the Court will look at to determine if a supportive relationship exists.)