The Basics of Bridge-the-Gap Alimony in Florida
In Florida, there are five types of alimony that a divorcee may be awarded or obligated to pay: pendente lite, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent (Florida Statute 61.08). Each type of alimony serves a distinct purpose, and each is awarded for a maximum length of time, with permanent being the only type of alimony that goes on indefinitely. For the sake of this post, we will be discussing Bridge-the-Gap alimony.
Bridge-the-Gap alimony is a temporary form of alimony designed to help a lesser-earning or stay-at-home spouse transition from being married to being single. In some cases, the support may simply be awarded to help a spouse pay for their living expenses while they search for a job. In others, it may be awarded to help that spouse pay for schooling, certification, or even a retaining program so that they have an opportunity for more gainful employment.
How Long is Bridge-the-Gap Alimony Meant to Last?
Though each case is different, bridge-the-gap alimony is not meant to last any longer than two years. Additionally, neither party is allowed to seek a modification to this type of support order once it is finalized (Florida Statute § 61.08(5)). For this reason, it is important that you and your spouse work out a suitable arrangement—meaning, you figure out what the support will be used for and how much is necessary to accomplish the recipient spouse’s end-goal—before the judge hands down a final order. With all that in mind, not all bridge-the-gap alimony awards will last for two years; how long your support order will last will depend on a number of factors, including how much the recipient spouse currently makes compared to the payer, how many years in courses or retention services the recipient spouse will need to find gainful employment, and what the amount of living expenses the recipient spouse has.
Can Bridge-the-Gap Alimony Be Terminated?
Because bridge-the-gap alimony is not permanent support, it does come with some stipulations, one of them being that the paying spouse can be freed from his or her obligations if one of the following happens:
- The recipient spouse suffers an untimely death;
- The paying spouse suffers an untimely death (in this case, their family would not be obligated to fulfill the terms of the support order); and
- The recipient spouse gets remarried.
The final stipulation is in place with the assumption that the individual’s new spouse would be able to help out financially, thereby eliminating the need for the former spouse’s payment. However, there are numerous other provisions that surround bridge-the-gap alimony, so before you settle for this form, speak with a Fort Lauderdale alimony attorney about any questions you have regarding spousal support.
Work With an Experienced Fort Lauderdale Alimony Lawyer
If you have decided to end your marriage and are curious about what you with either have to pay in alimony or what you will receive in terms of support, consult with a Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer. Our attorneys at Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help you determine what is fair and ensure that you either pay nothing more than what your future-former spouse needs, or that you receive nothing less than what you deserve. If you are interested in scheduling a free consultation, call 954-764-4330 today.