Alimony in Florida: A Comprehensive Guide

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Alimony: Orlando Family Law Attorney

Divorce is a complex and emotionally draining process, with financial support from one spouse to the other, legally referred to as support, maintenance payments, or alimony, often emerging as one of the most contentious issues. In Florida, navigating the intricate laws and regulations surrounding these forms of post-marital assistance, including the dissolution of marriage, requires expert guidance. At Resolute Divorce Law, our experienced divorce attorneys deeply understand how these various forms of spousal support impact both parties in a divorce. We have developed a comprehensive resource to help you understand Florida law, including the burden of proof placed on the person seeking support, the various sources of income that may be considered, and the award of alimony. This guide covers the legal framework, the different types of support that can be awarded, how they are calculated, their duration, and the circumstances under which payments may be modified or terminated based on several factors.

Understanding Florida and appellate law is vital for fair settlements during divorce proceedings. A qualified lawyer can guide you through legal intricacies and protect your rights. Florida courts consider factors like marriage length, standard of living, earning capacity, and financial resources when awarding spousal support. With an experienced attorney, you can understand these factors and secure a fair settlement while fulfilling your obligations under Florida law.

Revolutionizing Alimony in Florida: The 2023 Legislative Overhaul

Starting July 1, 2023, Florida introduced a groundbreaking overhaul to Florida alimony law, marking a significant shift in how spousal support is handled in divorce proceedings. The reform seeks a more equitable and predictable system for determining spousal support, reflecting contemporary societal and economic dynamics.

  1. Elimination of Permanent Alimony: Florida has done away with permanent support. Florida now recognizes four types of alimony: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational.
  2. Consideration of Adultery: Courts now have the authority to consider the impact of adultery, regardless of its financial implications.
  3. Life Insurance as Security: A demonstration of exceptional circumstances is required to secure the financial support payments with life insurance.

Florida Alimony Law Under Florida Statute §61.08

Florida Statute §61.08 is the governing law for determining financial support between divorcing spouses. Financial assistance discussions between spouses during divorce proceedings can be a source of contention, so having a knowledgeable attorney is critical to securing a fair and equitable settlement.

Essential Elements For Alimony Consideration in Florida

Determining spousal support in Florida is a complex process considering several critical factors, including marital assets, earning capacities, and vocational skills.  

Factors the Court May Consider

The court may consider various factors such as age, health, education, work experience, and ability to earn income when determining spousal support. This includes evaluating the educational levels of each party and their vocational skills and employability, including their ability to gain the necessary skills or education to become self-supporting or to contribute to their self-support before alimony ends. It is important to note that there is no set formula for calculating spousal support in Florida. The court will consider each case's unique circumstances before making a decision.

Types of Alimony in Florida

Alimony in Florida takes different forms, and it is vital to understand the distinctions between each type to strategize practical legal approaches. Temporary, Rehabilitative, Bridge-the-Gap, and Durational are the four main types of spousal support that serve unique purposes with specific duration and financial support, including a lump sum payment option. A comprehensive understanding of these nuanced categories is crucial for developing a successful legal strategy.

Temporary Alimony

In Florida divorce proceedings, temporary spousal support plays a critical role. It offers financial assistance to one spouse until the divorce is officially finalized. Determining the appropriate amount and duration of this temporary support involves careful legal consideration of both parties' circumstances. This ensures a balanced and fair settlement is reached. Expert legal representation is critical in these matters, as it helps understand and effectively navigate the nuances of temporary financial assistance. For those undergoing divorce, seeking professional legal guidance is crucial in securing a fair financial arrangement that safeguards your interests during and after the divorce process.

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony

Under Florida law, bridge-the-gap assists a spouse transitioning from marriage to single life. Bridge-the-gap addresses and supports short-term, identifiable needs that arise during this transitional period. The law stipulates that the duration of this award, also known as the length of the award, cannot exceed two years. Furthermore, bridge-the-gap automatically terminates if either party passes away or the party receiving the financial assistance remarries. It's also important to note that once awarded, the amount and duration of the payments are fixed and cannot be modified.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony in Florida is designed to support a former spouse in gaining the skills and work experience necessary for self-sufficiency post-divorce. This financial assistance can help a spouse redevelop prior skills or credentials or acquire new education, training, or work experience essential for the recipient's employment prospects. A key requirement for awarding rehabilitative alimony is a specific and defined rehabilitative plan within the court order, as well as considering the amount of alimony based on the recipient spouse's demonstrated need and the other spouse's ability to pay.

The duration of rehabilitative alimony is limited by law not to exceed five years. However, it is subject to modification or termination under Florida Statute §61.14. Modifications can occur under circumstances such as a significant change in either party's situation, noncompliance with the established rehabilitative plan, or upon the plan's successful completion before the designated period's end. This is a significant change brought about by the new law, which eliminated permanent alimony and replaced it with specific durations based on the length of the marriage.

Durational Alimony

In Florida, durational alimony in Florida is designed to provide financial assistance for a set period following the end of a marriage. This support applies to marriages that lasted at least three years. The support period usually matches the marriage's length, except in extraordinary situations.

For shorter marriages (3 to 10 years), the support period is capped at 50% of the marriage's duration. For moderate-term marriages (10 to 20 years), it's capped at 60%; for marriages over 20 years, the limit is 75%. Extensions to these limits are possible under exceptional circumstances, such as significant age, health, employability issues, or caregiving responsibilities for a disabled child. The amount of durational alimony awarded will be the amount required to meet the reasonable needs or an amount that does not exceed 35% of the difference between the net incomes of the spouses, whichever amount is less.

This financial support ends if the receiving spouse remarries. The amount is initially based on the recipient's needs or up to 35% of the difference in net incomes between the spouses – using the lower figure. Net income calculations exclude any existing spousal support. Under Florida law, safeguards are in place to ensure that the individual paying spouse is not left with significantly less net income than that of the recipient, except in rare and exceptional circumstances. This approach ensures an equitable distribution of financial support, considering the recipient's needs and the payor's capacity to provide.

Quick Summary of Alimony in Florida

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony

    • Purpose: Helps a spouse transition from married to single life, addressing short-term needs.
    • Duration: It can be at most two years.
    • Termination: Ends if the recipient remarries or if either party dies.
    • Modification: The amount and duration are fixed upon awarding and cannot be changed.

Rehabilitative Alimony

    • Purpose: Supports a spouse in gaining skills or experience for self-sufficiency, often through education or training.
    • Duration: Capped at a maximum of 5 years.
    • Termination and Modification: The terms can be changed or ended if significant life changes occur, the plan isn't followed, or the plan is finished earlier.

Durational Alimony

    • Purpose: Provides financial assistance after the marriage ends, suitable for marriages that are not long-term but exceed three years.
    • Duration: Typically equals the length of the marriage but capped at 50% for marriages lasting 3 to 10 years, 60% for 10 to 20 years, and 75% for marriages over 20 years.
    • Extension: Possible under exceptional circumstances like age, health, or significant caregiving responsibilities.
    • Termination: Ends if the recipient remarries or either spouse dies. The amount can be adjusted under specific conditions based on the recipient's needs or a maximum of 35% of the difference in income after taxes (net income), whichever is less.

In all types of alimony, Florida law aims to balance fairness between the payor and the recipient, considering each party's financial situation and specific needs.

Modification or Termination of Alimony in Florida

Florida Statute §61.14 details how alimony can be changed or enforced. Here's a straightforward overview:

  1. Changing Support Terms: If there's a change in either party's financial situation or if a child involved becomes an adult, either party can ask the court to change the support amount. This change can increase or decrease depending on the new financial situation.
  2. Impact of New Relationships: If the person receiving support starts a new supportive relationship, the court might reduce or stop the payments. The spouse paying must show that this new relationship exists. To make this decision, the court looks at various factors like shared finances and living arrangements.
  3. Retirement Effects: When the person paying reaches retirement age, they can ask the court to lower or stop the payments. The court will examine their age, health, job type, and how retirement affects their finances.
  4. General Rules: The law also stresses that parents support their children and maintain their spouses as required. If someone fails to pay support or alimony, they must show why they can't pay during court hearings.

Enforcement and Consequences of Non-Payment of Alimony

When payments are not made as ordered, enforcement measures can be initiated to ensure compliance. This involves legal actions where the court may find the non-paying party in contempt. Contempt of court for non-payment of alimony is a serious matter, potentially leading to penalties such as fines, wage garnishments, or even imprisonment in severe cases. The aim is to compel compliance with the court's order, ensuring that the financial obligations towards alimony are met. This process underscores the legal responsibility of adhering to court-ordered spousal support agreements.

Is it possible to receive both child support and alimony in Florida?

Yes, receiving both child and spousal support in Florida is possible. Child support is intended to provide financial assistance for the child's needs. At the same time, financial aid is awarded to a spouse to provide necessary financial support during and after a divorce.

Are there any tax implications for paying or receiving alimony in Florida?

As of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, alimony payments are not taxable or deductible. This change applies to alimony agreements made or modified after December 31, 2018.


Grasping the intricacies of Florida's alimony law is critical in any divorce proceeding. At Resolute Divorce Law, our team of skilled and dedicated divorce lawyers is committed to guiding you through every step of this complex process. We prioritize safeguarding your rights and securing your best interests. Serving clients in Orlando, we are dedicated to delivering expert legal assistance where it matters most. 

We offer convenient virtual strategy sessions. Contact us today to schedule your session and let our experienced family law team empower you with the support and advocacy you deserve.


Strategic Divorce Solutions

Navigating your divorce requires more than legal expertise; it demands a partner understanding the stakes. At Resolute Divorce Law, we craft precise and personalized strategies to meet the unique challenges of your case. Whether it's seamless, uncontested divorces, or complex financial deliberations, we handle each detail meticulously. Your concerns are central to our approach, guiding our tailored strategies. With us, you're not just another case but a valued client whose future is our priority. Take a decisive step towards a secure future. Book a strategy session with Resolute Divorce Law today and experience strategic guidance designed with your best interests.