Every year, the topic of permanent alimony comes up. And, seemingly, every time the Florida legislature is in session, the topic is debated. However, this year, it actually passed, which has led many to ask, has Florida eliminated permanent alimony?
Permanent alimony still exists
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint, permanent alimony still exists. This is because SB 1796, the bill that passed to eliminate permanent alimony, was vetoed by the governor. This means that, effectively, alimony law remains unchanged.
What are the alimony options in Florida?
Like many other states, our state has several types of alimony, including permanent. The four types of alimony are bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational and permanent.
As the name implies, this type of alimony is ordered to bridge-the-gap between married life and single life. It is short term (less than 2 years), and the bridge-the-gap alimony needs must be clearly identifiable.
This type of alimony is used when one of the spouses needs time to build up their educational or career credentials to become financially independent. For example, if one spouse was the stay-at-home spouse for years, for them to transition back into the workforce, they may need to go back to work, start an apprenticeship or do something else. The judge will approve a rehabilitation plan that includes the duration, amount and purposes of the rehabilitative alimony.
This type of alimony does not have a rehabilitation plan, but it only lasts for a set period of time, up to the marriage’s duration. This is used when permanent alimony is not warranted, and there is no way to bridge-the-gap within 2 years.
If a Pensacola, Florida, family law judge finds that no other form of alimony is reasonable and fair because the receiving spouse will never become self-supporting, permanent alimony may be ordered. It is designed to meet the needs of the receiving spouse, which are established during the marriage, and it lasts until the death of either spouse or until the receiving spouse remarries.