What is Alimony?

When you are going through a divorce, getting alimony is not automatic. But many spouses in the State of Florida can receive the support they need with the expert assistance of an alimony lawyer. Dean Tsourakis is a highly experienced attorney in Clearwater, FL, and has helped many clients get a fair and equitable arrangement for alimony.

In Florida, alimony is also known as “spousal support.” Alimony is the payment of one spouse to another, as defined by the parameters of a court order or a couple’s agreement, while a divorce case is proceeding or after a divorce. The amount of alimony and the length of time it will be given are determined by several factors, including the length of time the marriage lasted.

Understanding alimony (and what types are available) provides peace of mind during stressful times. It also gives you the alimony knowledge you need to determine what kind of arrangement you could be eligible to receive when you are getting divorced.

What Are the Different Types of Alimony?

Family law in Florida details different types of alimony for varying situations. Alimony may be given to either spouse, depending on the circumstances of the marriage. In Florida, there are five types of alimony.

Types of Alimony

Temporary Alimony — Awarded during the divorce proceedings but terminated after the entry of the formal divorce decree. Temporary alimony may be replaced by another type.

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony — Awarded to help a spouse transition from being married to being single. These funds are awarded to help pay expenses while the spouse is starting a new life after the divorce.

Rehabilitative Alimony— Awarded to help the spouse obtain self-sufficiency. This type of alimony includes funds for educational programs or vocational training. It can be altered over time if income/life circumstances change for either spouse, such as the receiving spouse starting a new career after graduation from a program.

Durational Alimony Awarded as a set amount most often to individuals divorcing after a short or moderate-term marriage. It is used when other types are not the right fit for the divorcing couple – and will not exceed the length of the marriage.

Permanent Alimony Awarded to a spouse to maintain the standard of living set by the marriage. Generally given to spouses who were in moderate to long-term marriages, but those in short-term marriages have been awarded permanent alimony if there are extraordinary circumstances. Similar to rehabilitative alimony, permanent alimony can be altered over time if income/life circumstances change for either spouse.

In addition to knowing the types of alimony available in Florida, it is important to be aware of the terms.


How does alimony work?

First, there are varying marriage classifications. This will help you understand what type of alimony may apply to you.

Short-Term A marriage lasting fewer than seven years. (< 7)

Moderate-Term— A marriage lasting at least seven years but fewer than seventeen. (7 – < 17)

Long–Term— A marriage lasting seventeen or more years. (17+)

The length of the marriage is a primary factor in determining alimony, but there are others that will be involved in the decision made by the Florida judicial system. This includes:

  • The age of both spouses
  • The standard of living during the marriage for both spouses
  • The economic conditions of both spouses – including marital and non-marital assets; and debts incurred during the marriage, such as credit cards and personal or business loans
  • Any physical or emotional impairments that act as a barrier/hindrance to earning capacity and/or economic needs
  • The contributions made by each spouse to the marriage – including financial contributions/salary, assets, homemaking, child care, helping a spouse build a business/career, or supporting a spouse while they obtain an education

Other factors may also be considered by the court. Ultimately, if alimony is awarded, it is determined by one individual’s ability to pay and the other individual’s need. The length of time spousal support is paid is determined by the type and the circumstances. For permanent, bridge-the-gap, and durational alimony, alimony will end when the receiving spouse gets remarried. This is not the case for rehabilitative alimony.

Typically, alimony is paid in periodic payments, such as once a month. On occasion, a judge will order a lump sum to be paid in cash or a property transfer.

Benefits of Hiring an Alimony Attorney

When you have a legal advocate during the divorce proceedings, you have an expert on your side that works diligently to prove your case for alimony. With the varying types of alimony that can be given, it is important to work with an alimony attorney to get the appropriate type for your particular situation — and to receive the right amount that is due to you under Florida law.

Divorces are very emotional and stressful. When there are children involved, it gets even more complicated. If you are trying to handle the case on your own, it can be easy to make unwise choices that you may regret later. It is understandable to want to just get it over with, but if you do it without proper legal representation, it can affect your life for many years to come. An alimony attorney has the skills and expertise to advocate for your interests, as well as the best interests of your children during the life-altering event of a divorce.

How Dean Tsourakis can Help

Dean Tsourakis is a compassionate attorney that expertly navigates the complexity of the Florida judicial system to help you get an equitable alimony decision. With more than a decade of experience in family law, he has assisted many clients during difficult times. He can also help with child support and custody cases. He fights hard for the best possible future for your children.

If you have been wondering how to find an alimony lawyer that is right for you, know that you are in good hands with Dean Tsourakis. He is the recipient of the prestigious AV Preeminent® Rating — the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards — earned through a strenuous peer review process that is managed and monitored by the world’s most trusted legal resource, Martindale-Hubbell®.

Give us a call today for a free consultation.