In regard to divorce, the purpose of alimony is to assist the spouse who earns the lower income until he or she is able to establish the means to support him or herself. In order to ensure that the concept of alimony is fair for all divorce couples given their individual cases, there are multiple types of alimony with a number of different requirements that must be met before alimony is awarded. Bridge-the-gap alimony is a popular choice for spouses who require only short-term financial assistance from the providing spouse.
Alimony laws can be complex in the State of Florida, so it is important to work with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney. At The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates, we can provide you with an experienced Gainesville attorney to help you determine which form of alimony best suits your needs in a divorce case. We can advise you as to your likely alimony awards or obligations and leverage our experience for your benefit.
What Is Bridge-The-Gap Alimony?
Bridge-the-gap alimony is a type of transitional alimony with the main goal to aid the lower-earning spouse in the financial difficulties involved with the transition from married-life to single-life. This type of alimony allocated the necessary funds to pay foreseeable and identifiable bills that occur when starting a new life. Bridge-the-gap alimony usually occurs in short-term marriages, in which rehabilitative alimony is not justified by the presiding judge. However, just like rehabilitative alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony can be combined with a permanent alimony award, at the discretion of the courts.
When Is Bridge-The-Gap Alimony Awarded?
Bridge-the-gap alimony can only be awarded if the receiving spouse has specific and legitimate short-term financial requirements. The type of short-term financial needs that are considered includes the replacement of household items, the purchase or lease of a vehicle, moving costs and any deposits necessary for housing or utilities, household costs pending an increase in wages and adjusting to a substantially lower standard of living. When awarding alimony, the court can order for periodic payments or payments in a lump sum, or both, depending on the specifics of each case. However, the stipulations surrounding bridge-the-gap alimony are concrete. Contact us to speak with a family law attorney in Gainesville for a free consultation to discuss the specific requirements for alimony pertaining to your case.
Is Bridge-The-Gap Alimony Modifiable?
An award of bridge-the-gap alimony is not modifiable in amount or duration once set by the court, according to Florida Statute § 61.08. This is because bridge-the-gap is only intended to provide short-term economic assistance. Other forms of alimony, such as rehabilitative or permanent, can be modified because the court considers that one of both party’s needs could change over the duration of the time initially set. Modification of bridge-the-gap would essentially change the purpose for which it is intended. For more information about modifiable and non-modifiable alimony, or to discuss filing for alimony with a divorce attorney, contact us today.
What Is The Duration Of Bridge-The-Gap Alimony?
Spouses who are awarded bridge-the-gap alimony are presumed by the court to be capable of self-support, and thus the alimony only serves to assist temporarily. Because of this, Florida Statute § 61.08 states that this type of alimony cannot exceed two years. Unlike other forms of alimony, bridge-the-gap is not designed to rehabilitate a spouse, facilitate the process for him or her to get back in the workforce or provide a sufficient amount of alimony for that spouse to be able to live a lifestyle like the one he or she was accustomed to. Instead, it is solely to ease the transition from married to single life, since the receiving spouse is self-sufficient and able to support himself or herself to the standard of living during the marriage.
Can Bridge-The-Gap Alimony Be Terminated?
In bridge-the-gap alimony, the paying spouse becomes freed of their obligation to provide support to the receiving spouse if the spouse receiving the alimony dies. Alimony can also be terminated if the spouse providing the payments dies before the court-ordered duration of support expires. If the receiving spouse remarries during the period of alimony directed by the court, the bridge-the-gap alimony is terminated thereafter.