What Does the Length of Marriage Mean to My Case?

Ring and money

The Legal Categories for Marriage Terms

Under Florida law, the length of your marriage has a significant impact on the issue of alimony—also known as spousal support. The nature and extent of an alimony award depends on the length of the parties’ marriage.

Florida law categories marriage length in the following ways:

  • A short-term marriage: Zero to seven years. There's a presumption against a permanent alimony award because it's such a short term marriage.
  • A moderate-duration marriage: Seven to seventeen years. There's a lot of gray area and conflict in the case law between a permanent alimony award and something more durational for a set period of time.
  • A long-term marriage: seventeen years or more. There is a presumption of permanent alimony in a long-term marriage when the court determined to be a need and an ability to pay.

The Statutory Alimony Categories

Florida Statutes § 61.08 lists four categories of alimony, depending on the specific needs of the party who is supposed to receive alimony payments:

  • Bridge-the-gap alimony: This type of award is meant to help a party pay for short-term expenses and cannot exceed two years.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony is supposed to help a party improve their ability to support themselves by paying for their expenses when it comes to job training and education.
  • Durational alimony: This type of support is designed to help a party with expenses for a set time period, but where permanent alimony is inappropriate.
  • Permanent alimony: Permanent alimony is appropriate in cases involving a long-term marriage and sometimes in moderate-duration marriages. Permanent alimony helps someone who lacks the financial ability to take care of their needs after a divorce. This depends on the lifestyle and standard of living that was established during the marriage.

You Deserve Comprehensive Legal Counsel

Divorce often involves legally complicated and emotionally draining issues. However, you don’t have to go through your divorce alone. At Family First Legal Group, we but you and your family’s needs above all else. You can benefit from our compassionate approach to litigating divorces and other family law issues.

Get in touch with an experienced Naples attorney from Family First Legal Group at (239) 319-4441 or by visiting us online today.