Effective July, 1, 2010, the Florida Statutes regarding alimony have been revised substantially. Officially, the types of alimony have been committed to statute: bridge the gap, rehabilitative, durational, permanent or any combination of these forms. In addition, it is clarified that adultery of either party and the circumstances thereof can be considered by the court to determine the amount of the award.
To award support, first there must be a specific finding by the court that there is an actual need for alimony and whether the other party has the ability to pay it. If there is a finding that there is an actual need for and the ability to pay alimony, then the court considers a list of relevant factors to determine the proper type and amount of alimony, as well as any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
The revised statutes clearly name and define the time periods of a marriage: A short term marriage is less than 7 years, a moderate term marriage is greater than 7 years and less than 17 years, and a long term marriage is 17 years or greater. Note that year 7 is not accounted for in the revision, but I assume that it will probably be included as a short term marriage. In addition, for the purpose of awarding alimony, the length of the marriage is defined as from the date of marriage through the date of filing an action for divorce.
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