The quick primer on durational and lump-sum alimony

Durational alimony is something like permanent alimony, except that it is given a limited duration, usually a set number of years. Permanent alimony usually lasts until the death, remarriage or cohabitation (under certain circumstances) of the recipient, and it’s what we normally think of when we think of alimony. Durational alimony is the same thing, only it’s given a set duration. Durational alimony is usually set for a length of time equal to either the length of the marriage or half the length of the marriage. Florida law prefers durational alimony over permanent alimony under the theory that alimony should never outlast the length of the marriage and the idea that alimony should never last “forever.” Durational alimony is relatively new to Florida Statutes, although it has existed in some Florida appellate districts by caselaw for many years. If a judge orders permanent alimony in Florida, the judge must explain why permanent alimony was a better option than durational alimony.

Lump sum alimony is alimony paid all at one time, in one “lump sum.” It is very, very rare, and is usually used for creative tax purposes (alimony is always tax deductible to the payor), bankruptcy purposes (alimony can never be discharged in bankruptcy), or because there is no other way to obtain “equitable distribution,” that is, to fairly divide the parties’ assets.

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