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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Alimony in Florida

Alimony (also commonly referred to as “spousal support”) is a major source of contention among divorcing spouses.  While one spouse is threatening to take the other spouse for “everything he’s got,” the other spouse can usually be found promising that the first spouse will “never see a dime in alimony.”  More often than not, those who are making these types of threats do not understand the nature of alimony or the laws governing it.

The purpose of alimony is to ensure that any financial burdens directly resulting from a divorce are balanced fairly between the divorcing spouses.  The four main types of alimony that are available in Florida are: (1) Bridge-the-Gap, (2) Rehabilitative, (3) Durational, and (4) Permanent.  Each kind of alimony serves a distinct purpose and has specific criteria that must be met before an award will be made.  

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony.  Bridge-the-gap alimony is awarded to ease a spouse’s transition from being married to being single.  It is specifically intended to take care of a spouse’s legitimate and identifiable short-term needs.  Therefore, bridge-the-gap alimony cannot last longer than two years and will only be awarded if a spouse can present evidence that clearly identifies a specific need and tends to proves that such need is genuine and necessary.

Rehabilitative Alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to help a spouse establish the ability to be self-supportive.  The objective is for the supported spouse to become self-sufficient and obtain steady employment.  A spouse can become self-supportive either by redeveloping previous skills or credentials or by pursuing the education or training necessary to develop appropriate skills or credentials.  The spouse seeking rehabilitative alimony is required to provide a cohesive rehabilitative plan to the court.  If the rehabilitative plan is accepted, then alimony is awarded to the spouse while he or she undergoes the process of “rehabilitation.”

Durational Alimony.  Durational alimony is somewhat vague.  According to Florida law, it is awarded when permanent alimony is not appropriate.  Durational alimony is designed to provide a spouse with financial assistance for a set period of time.  Typically following a marriage of short or moderate duration, the length of an award of durational alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage.

Permanent Alimony.  Permanent alimony is awarded to a spouse who is unable to take care of his or her own financial needs after a divorce.  For purposes of permanent alimony, a spouse’s financial needs are determined by the standard of living that was established during the marriage.  Permanent alimony is usually reserved for moderate to long-term marriages; however, it can be awarded following a short-term marriage if there are exceptional circumstances.  

This is just the tip of the alimony iceberg.  For more information about alimony visit our website http://www.remsenlaw.com/Family-Custody-Divorce-Law/Alimony.shtml and schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

2 comments:

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