What is a long term marriage, a short term marriage, and what should I be entitled to?
Until recently many courts throughout Florida had a different opinion to that question. The legislature has now taken it out of the hands of the Court and has defined marriage as such:
- Short-term Marriage – any marriage less than 7 years.
- Moderate-term Marriage – greater than 7 years but less than 17 years.
- Long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater.
The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.
Types of Alimony and their purpose:
- Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to assist a party by providing support to allow the party to make a transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, and the length of an award may not exceed 2 years. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award of bridge-the-gap alimony shall not be modifiable in amount or duration.
- Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through either:
- The redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or
- The acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.
In order to award rehabilitative alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan which shall be included as a part of any order awarding rehabilitative alimony. An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances, upon noncompliance with the rehabilitative plan, or upon completion of the rehabilitative plan.
- Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration. An award of durational alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. The amount of an award of durational alimony may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances. However, the length of an award of durational alimony may not be modified except under exceptional circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.
- Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration, following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of certain factors, or following a marriage of short duration if there are exceptional circumstances. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of a supportive relationship.