Sometimes, while married, one spouse works to support the family financially, while the other spouse stays out of the workforce to take care of their family. Also, in some cases, even if both spouses work, one spouse earns significantly more than the other. Should couples in these situations divorce, the issue of alimony -- also known as spousal support -- naturally comes to the forefront.
Spousal support in Florida can either be bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, meant to last a certain duration or be permanent. Bridge-the-gap spousal support is meant to help a spouse with the costs it takes to move from married life to single life. These include short-term needs, and in general will not last more than 24 months.
Rehabilitative spousal support is meant to help the receiving spouse become self-supportive either by redeveloping the necessary skills or credentials, or obtaining the necessary education or experience needed to become employable. An award of rehabilitative spousal support must be accompanied by a specific plan as to how the spouse will become self-supporting.
Durational spousal support is awarded in situations in which a permanent award of spousal support is not appropriate. Durational spousal support provides financial assistance for a certain period of time following the divorce. It will be terminated if either spouse dies or if the receiving spouse remarries. If there is a substantial change in circumstances, the amount of durational spousal support may be changed, although the length of time it is made cannot be exchanged unless there are exceptional circumstances, and in no means can it be longer than the time the couple was married.
Permanent spousal support may be awarded to spouses who do not have the ability to provide for themselves after a divorce. It is awarded if no other types of spousal support would be fair and reasonable. It may be changed if there is a substantial change in circumstances.
In the end, no matter what form it takes, it is important for an order of spousal support to be fair and appropriate. Residents of Florida who have questions about spousal support following a divorce may want to seek the advice of an attorney.