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Are Spousal Support and Alimony the Same Thing?

are spousal support and alimony the same thingIn Florida, there is no legal difference between “alimony” and “spousal support.” Although the term “alimony” is still used in some statutes, “spousal support” is gradually replacing it to reflect a more gender-neutral approach. Both terms refer to financial support made by one ex-spouse to another during or after divorce.

Alimony is a financial arrangement designed to provide support to a spouse who is economically dependent on the other spouse. Unlike child support, alimony focuses on maintaining the standard of living established during the marriage for the spouse in need. The goal is to ensure that both parties can move forward with financial stability and independence after the dissolution of the marriage.

Types of Alimony

In Florida, several types of alimony may be awarded based on the specific circumstances of the case:

  • Bridge-the-gap: This type of alimony is intended to assist a spouse with legitimate, identifiable short-term needs as they transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded for a maximum duration of two years and cannot be modified in amount or duration.
  • Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to assist a spouse in establishing the capacity for self-support by either redeveloping previous skills or acquiring the education, training, or work experience necessary to become self-sufficient. The duration and amount of rehabilitative alimony are determined based on a rehabilitative plan outlined in the court order.
  • Durational: Durational alimony provides financial support for a set period, typically not exceeding the duration of the marriage. It is awarded when the court determines that the other types of alimony are not fair or reasonable.

Why Do People Get Alimony?

There are various reasons why someone might seek alimony in Florida.

Economic dependency is a primary factor. This is particularly true in cases where one spouse has sacrificed career opportunities or financial independence to support the other spouse’s career or manage household responsibilities.

Additionally, if a spouse lacks sufficient resources to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage alimony can help. The same is true if they’re facing financial challenges due to health issues or other factors.

It’s important to note that alimony in Florida is not automatic. It is also subject to the discretion of the court. Several factors affect the court’s decisions regarding alimony.

Alimony in Florida serves as a means to provide financial support to economically dependent spouses following a divorce or separation. Alimony plays a vital role in addressing the economic disparities that may arise from divorce. Understanding the types of alimony available is essential for anyone navigating the complexities of divorce proceedings in Florida.

If you’d like to know more about spousal support or have questions about your specific situation, contact the Geller Law Firm at (813) 405-1509.

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