Alimony-spousal support, what is it and what are my rights?

This is an excerpt from the Florida Bar “Divorce in Florida” pamphlet.  You might find this very useful and it can be found at


After equitable distribution, the court may consider an alimony award. The court may grant alimony to either the husband or the wife. Rehabilitative alimony may be for a limited period of time to assist in redeveloping skills and financial independence. Parties requesting rehabilitative alimony must have a plan for their rehabilitation such as the cost of going to school to improve skills and marketability. Bridge-the-gap alimony allows a party to make the transition from married to single life which may include the need to obtain a vehicle and/or money to find a place to live. Permanent alimony continues until the receiving spouse’s remarriage or the death of either party. The court can also order alimony for a certain period of time, which is called durational alimony. Rehabilitative, permanent, and durational alimony generally are paid periodically (i.e., monthly or semi-monthly); bridge-the-gap alimony can be paid in a lump sum at one time, or may be paid over a very short period of time. The court may also order lump-sum alimony where one party pays to the other party a lump-sum payment of money or property. Although adultery does not mandate or bar an award of alimony, the court may consider the circumstances of adultery in determining alimony.

In awarding alimony, the court considers factors such as the parties’ prior standard of living; length of the marriage; age and physical and emotional condition of both spouses; each spouse’s financial resources and income-producing capacity of the assets they receive; the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to find appropriate employment; and the services rendered in homemaking, child rearing, and education and career building of the other spouse. The court may consider any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the husband and wife.