Too Much Durational Alimony?

One of the "newest" forms of alimony in Florida is "durational" alimony. While it is one of the newest forms of alimony, the durational alimony law has been in place since July 1, 2010. Durational alimony is a type of alimony that is a step down from permanent periodic alimony. Durational alimony differs from permanent alimony in one important way; the length of time that alimony will be paid.

"Permanent" alimony is a bit of a misnomer, as this type of alimony can end upon the following factors: death of either party, remarriage of the payee, or the payee entering into a supportive relationship. The one thing that makes permanent alimony, "permanent" is that while there is always an end date, there is no set end date. One never knows when someone will die, remarry, or enter into a supportive relationship.

Durational alimony differs from permanent alimony, in that there is a set end date. This set end date, according to the Florida Statutes, cannot be longer than the time that the parties were married. For example, if a couple filed for divorce on their 10 year anniversary, a court cannot award durational alimony for longer than 120 months.

Florida's Second DCA in Cooley v. Cooley, 106 So.3d 17, (2013), reminds us of this time limitation. In Cooley, the trial court awarded durational alimony for a period of 192 months. The appellate court reversed and remanded the case back to the trial court to correct the period of durational alimony to reflect an amount no longer than the length of the marriage.