Earlier his month, our blog began exploring the process by which alimony is awarded here in Florida in order to shed some light on what is arguably one of the thornier issues to arise during a divorce.
Indeed, this endeavor takes on an added importance in light of the alimony reform discussions currently place among state lawmakers and which may finally become a reality in 2016.
Alimony and the rebuttable presumption
To recap, once a court decides that alimony can and should be paid, it will then consider a host of factors to determine what type of alimony is appropriate, as well as its amount and duration. One of the factors that will be given considerable weight, of course, will be the length of the marriage.
It’s important to understand, however, that there is a rebuttable presumption as it relates to the length of a marriage and, by extension, the appropriateness of certain types of alimony — particularly permanent alimony.
Specifically, the court will presume that a union of less than seven years is a short-term marriage, a union between seven to 17 years is a moderate-term marriage, and a union of 17-plus years is a long-term marriage.
We now turn our discussion to the five types of alimony that can be awarded in Florida.
In general, bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to help spouses with the immediate — and often difficult — transition from married life to single life. Indeed, this form of alimony can last for a maximum of two years and is meant to cover “legitimate identifiable short-term needs.”
By way of illustration, bridge-the-gap alimony could cover expenses while the spouse completes a training program to help with job searches or awaits the sale of the marital home.
We’ll continue examining this topic in future posts.
If you would like to learn more about alimony or just have questions about the divorce process, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.