There are many rules about awarding alimony that the judge has to keep in mind when making a ruling. There is also a lot of leeway the court has when making such decisions.
According to the Florida Statutes, an award of alimony will occur when the court determines a spouse meets requirements for one of the types of alimony available in the state.
There are four types of alimony in the state. Permanent is for a case where one spouse has no means by which to support his or herself and only occurs in long-term marriages. Durational is the other option for a permanent support order when the marriage does not meet long-term requirements. Rehabilitative alimony lasts long enough for the person to be able to gain training or education to begin supporting his or herself. Bridge-the-gap is an option for a short-term payment that allows one spouse to get on his or her feet after the divorce.
The court can consider adultery and other factors about treatment during the marriage when making a decision. A judge can use any factor he or she wishes to influence the decision. However, the law does prevent a court from awarding alimony in an amount that would leave the payer with less income than the payee.
The length of alimony depends on the length of the marriage. In Florida, the court generally will look at whether the relationship was long- or short-term. A long-term marriage would be anything seventeen years or longer. Moderate terms are seven to 17 years. The length will influence how long the court can award payments.