Alimony is a payment awarded by a court to a spouse or former spouse following a separation or divorce. As outlined in Florida Statute § 61.08, courts may grant dependent spouses six types of alimony — temporary, lump sum, durational, permanent periodic, rehabilitative, and bridge-the-gap. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to help a lower-income spouse or stay-at-home spouse transition from being married to being single by providing a temporary source of income following a divorce.
Contact our Sarasota law firm, Tobaygo Law, to learn more about bridge-the-gap alimony. Then, schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation!
What Is Bridge-The-Gap Alimony?
Bridge-the-gap alimony, occasionally referred to as transitional alimony, is intended to provide financial aid to the receiving spouse for a set amount of time. The purpose of bridge-the-gap alimony is to cover the expenses during the transition from being married to being single for the spouse with a lower income. These expenses may include housing costs, food, utilities, transportation costs, and any other expenses deemed to be financially necessary. Typically, this kind of alimony is for individuals who do not qualify for other forms of alimony, such as rehabilitative alimony but are nevertheless facing economic hardship due to their divorce.
How Long Does Bridge-The-Gap Alimony Last?
The exact duration of bridge-the-gap alimony will vary from case to case, depending on the receiving spouse's financial needs and circumstances. However, as is stated in Florida Statute § 61.08, "Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs, and the length of an award may not exceed 2 years." During this period, the receiving spouse is expected to take steps to become self-reliant, whether by finding a job, completing a degree, undergoing vocational training, or otherwise.
When Is Bridge-The-Gap Alimony Awarded?
Typically, bridge-the-gap alimony is awarded in divorce cases involving short-term marriages wherein one spouse experienced a higher standard of living than they previously had or in which one spouse was entirely dependent on the other. Bridge-the-gap alimony may either be awarded in short-term monthly installments or a lump sum. Additionally, even though bridge-the-gap alimony is more common in short marriages, it may also be awarded in moderate-length or even long-term marriages when deemed appropriate.
Factors In Determining The Amount Of Alimony
The amount of alimony awarded will vary on a case-by-case basis. How much spousal support you pay or receive will be decided by the judge overseeing your divorce proceedings. Factors the court will consider include the following.
- The established marital standard of living
- The household's primary source of income
- The age of each spouse
- The needs of children
- The marriage's length
- The employability and earning potential of each spouse
- The financial resources of each spouse
Can Bridge-The-Gap Alimony Be Modified?
Florida Statute § 61.08(5) states that an "award of bridge-the-gap alimony shall not be modifiable in amount or duration." In other words, once the court sets out the terms of bridge-the-gap alimony, it will be final. Unlike most other forms of alimony in Florida, a modification would be strictly prohibited because it aims to help the receiving spouse meet short-term financial needs. Additionally, the court can only terminate bridge-the-gap alimony if the receiving spouse remarries or the paying spouse's passes away.
How Our Alimony Attorneys Can Help
Divorce is often a heated and emotional experience. Even in situations where the splitting parties are particularly genial, all it takes is a single disagreement for tensions to flare. Amidst the divorce process, spousal support is one of the areas where disputes frequently arise. Whether your divorce is amicable or contentious, it's always wise to seek the assistance of a skilled spousal support lawyer to help ensure the appropriate type of alimony is awarded. The attorneys with Tobaygo Law offer personal guidance and vigorous representation in court when necessary. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation!