Different Types of Alimony Apply In Different Divorces, Says Attorney Richard D. Zasada
Jacksonville, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 10, 2013 – There are different types of alimony for different divorce situations in Florida.
Alimony reform has been in the news in Florida recently, with Governor Rick Scott vetoing a bill that would have ended permanent alimony in the state. However, Florida's alimony laws have already undergone significant reform recently, and different types of alimony apply in different divorce situations, according to prominent divorce attorney Richard D. Zasada.
“Permanent periodic alimony still exists in Florida, but it is not the only type,” said Zasada. “Depending on the situation, durational alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony or rehabilitative alimony may be appropriate.”
Florida courts are now more likely to base an alimony decision on the length of the marriage. Permanent alimony is less likely to be awarded if the marriage is of a shorter duration. However, permanent alimony may be appropriate when a marriage has lasted for many years and a spouse who stayed home would have difficulty starting a career. Permanent alimony may be awarded when one spouse has financed the other spouse's education, or when one spouse has squandered marital assets. In addition, permanent alimony may be used if it is difficult to divide assets after a divorce because they are not liquid or not assignable.
In 2010, the Florida legislature introduced the option of durational alimony, which runs for a specified period of time and then ends. This is in addition to rehabilitative alimony, which is intended to help the non-working spouse obtain job skills, and bridge-the-gap alimony, which helps a spouse transition from marriage to single life.
In 2011, the Florida legislature passed a law mandating that before a court may award permanent alimony, it must make specific findings indicating why no other form of alimony will accomplish the goal of a fair division of assets. Permanent alimony has not ended, but it is now effectively a last resort.
When Gov. Scott vetoed Senate Bill 718, which would have ended permanent alimony, he stated that the bill had good elements but he was particularly concerned that the bill would have retroactive effect, ending existing awards of permanent alimony. Scott pointed out that the law already allows for the adjustment of alimony awards under proper circumstances. For now, permanent periodic alimony remains one of several options for alimony in a Florida divorce.