Alimony, which is also called spousal support, may be available to a spouse in Florida after a divorce. Alimony is designed to provide financial support to the spouse who earns less income and has significantly less assets. Rehabilitative alimony is one type of support that a court may award in a Florida divorce ruling.
Florida Statute 61.08(6) outlines the requirements that a spouse must meet to be eligible for rehabilitative alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is generally awarded when a marriage lasts between five and 17 years. The requesting spouse is generally young enough to work, but stopped working during the marriage to take care of the household or the children. In these cases, the requesting spouse requires some education or training, or must reestablish existing credentials to be self-supporting. A formal rehabilitation plan must be included in the court order and set forth the degree or certificate the spouse will work towards, tuition costs and school supplies, as well as the time required to complete the program.
Amount and Duration
A court decides the amount and duration of rehabilitative alimony based on several factors, set forth in Section 61.08(2) of the Florida Statutes. The most consideration is given to the length of the marriage, amount of time the requesting spouse needs to complete the education or training program before returning to the workforce and costs of any such program. Additional factors include the ages and incomes of both spouses, spouses' abilities to increase their incomes, value of assets, and which spouse has custody of any minor children.
The court may order modification of a rehabilitative alimony order if either spouse experiences a "substantial change in circumstances." This can include the owing spouse losing a job or experiencing a decrease in salary, or the receiving spouse earning an increased income. Additionally, if the receiving spouse incurs additional expenses while completing the rehabilitation plan not foreseen when the original order was issued, modification may be appropriate. In this case, the requesting spouse must present documentation of the expenses, including tuition, books and supplies, to the court.
Alimony generally terminates when either spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries. Additionally, there are two other circumstances in which rehabilitative alimony will terminate prior to the date set forth in the court order: First, if the receiving spouse completes the education program early. Second, if the receiving spouse fails to complete the education or training program as required.