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Bridge the Gap Alimony


Lots of people have an angry, knee jerk reaction when they hear the word alimony, but there are more complex legal issues involved with it than you might expect.  Most people who get divorced in Florida do not have to pay alimony at all.  Likewise, in most cases, the spouses themselves work out the details of their divorce during mediation, from finances to parenting plans, and the judge just signs off on them.  By the time you and your spouse get finished with mediation, you will have figured out whether it is possible to become financially independent of each other without alimony payments.  When the court must make decisions about alimony awards, it awards alimony for the shortest duration possible.  Permanent alimony is very rare; it only occurs after long marriages and where one former spouse would be destitute without it.  Many times the choice is not between alimony and no alimony, but rather between two or more kinds of alimony, none of which is permanent.  If you can tell that alimony is unavoidable in your divorce but you don’t want to get stuck spending tons of money subsidizing your ex-spouse’s decision to dump you, contact a Boca Raton alimony lawyer.

How Is Bridge the Gap Alimony Different From Other Kinds of Alimony?

Of the six kinds of alimony that Florida courts can award, five of them have a pre-set end date.  One of the choices is bridge the gap alimony.  The purpose of a bridge the gap alimony award is to enable the lower income spouse to cover certain identifiable financial needs in order to make the transition from married life to a new life as an unmarried adult.  The duration of the marriage has no bearing on the amount and duration of bridge the gap alimony.  If “bridge the gap” sounds like a euphemism to you, you can think of it as “get lost” alimony.

What are these identifiable needs?  They can include relocating to a new residence and paying its rent for several months.  Bridge the gap alimony can also help the recipient spouse buy a car if she previously depended on her spouse for transportation to work, or if she used to live walking distance from work but now must move away because of the divorce.

If Not Bridge the Gap Alimony, Then What?

Bridge the gap alimony recipients are usually already in the workforce.  If you are out of the workforce and need to go back to school to qualify for a suitable job, you need rehabilitative alimony, not bridge the gap alimony.  Likewise, if your ex is keeping the marital home, he might pay you a lump sum which you can use as a down payment on a new house, especially if you already have employment income and can qualify for a mortgage loan as an unmarried applicant.  Bridge the gap alimony is also not about maintaining the standard of living that your ex-spouse used to provide; that is the purpose of durational alimony, which is like permanent alimony except that it is not permanent; it is monthly payments lasting for a period of time agreed upon by you and your ex or decided by the court.

Contact Schwartz | White About Bridge the Gap Alimony

A South Florida family law attorney can help you get the most appropriate alimony award for your situation.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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