Financial resources and stability are one of the main concerns of an individual when entering or in the midst of a divorce proceeding. Therefore, understanding the different forms of alimony and the rules regarding the awards of the same is critical to your financial stability during your divorce and in your life outside of your spouse. Therefore, employ the assistance of an experience divorce attorney to assess your case, explain the resources of alimony, and fight for your rights.
Under Florida Statute 61.08, temporary, bridge the gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent alimony or any combination of these forms of alimony may be awarded in a divorce proceeding. Therefore, you may be awarded multiple forms of alimony within your single divorce proceeding. However, the award type or types of alimony awarded is within the discretion of the court and therefore, is a very subjective procedure focused on a number of different factors for each type of alimony award. First step in making an alimony award is to make specific factual findings as to the actual need for alimony, and the respective party’s ability to pay. The court will then consider the factors: Standard of living established during the marriage; duration of the marriage; age and health of the parties; financial resources of each spouse; the earning capacities of each spouse; the contributions made to the marriage; responsibilities to the minor children; all sources of income; and any other factor the court finds necessary to promote equity between the parties. After weighing these many elements, the court will determine an alimony award that equates with the evidence and provides a fair division, this may include a single form of alimony or any combination.
The first type of award, and the one that is most often combined with other awards is temporary or Pendente Lite. This is awarded during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. The needs many present to qualify for this type of award is the money to afford the divorce action, assistance to obtain new living arrangements, or money to aid in the monthly household expenses or living expense of a spouse. After the divorce proceeding ends, this award will terminate automatically. This is why many seek additional alimony awards as well.
Bridge the Gap Alimony is also a form that is combinable. Bridge the gap alimony is used on a temporary basis to provide a spouse with the financial assistance to acclimate or transition into their new single life. This award must include evidence of short term needs that need to be provided for, such as temporary living expenses until a new property can be purchased. Further, this alimony award is limited to two years.
Rehabilitative alimony may also be awarded in a divorce action. This award is provided to assist a spouse in becoming financially independent from their spouse through appropriate training, education, work experience, or redevelopment of skills. Generally, this allows the spouse to obtain a degree, or become a productive employee in society. The award is associated with a specific rehabilitative plan that must be followed by the recipient. After the plan is completed, the award will terminate.
Durational alimony may also be combined with other awards. However, this form of alimony is one that is provided to a spouse for a time not to exceed the length of the marriage. There must be evidence that the needs of the recipient are not temporary in nature, that would be supported only by a bridge the gap award.
The final award available is permanent alimony. This is generally only awarded in marriage of long duration, unless clear and convincing evidence is presented or exceptional circumstances exist. Permanent awards are given to provide for the needs of a party who will be unable to financially meet these needs on their own for the duration of their life.
Alimony is a highly litigious topic in a divorce proceeding. Therefore, knowing your rights and the laws surrounding the awards of this financial aid is imperative. Discuss your specific needs for alimony, and the manner in which the different forms of alimony can meet these needs with your family law attorney to determine which alimony awards will satisfy your specific needs.
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