Awarding Different Forms of Alimony in a Single Divorce Proceeding
Financial stability is one of the main concerns of those who are involved in divorce proceedings, so it is important for divorcing couples to have a good understanding of the different forms of alimony and the rules regarding how and when they are awarded. If you are currently going through a divorce and have questions about your own financial resources after your marriage has been dissolved, you should employ the assistance of an experienced Fort Lauderdale alimony lawyer who can assess your case and walk you through your alimony-related options.
Types of Alimony Awards
There are a number of different types of alimony awards in Florida, including:
- Temporary alimony, which is awarded during the pendency of divorce proceedings to help one party pay for the divorce action, find new living arrangements, or pay for living expenses;
- Bridge the gap alimony, which is awarded for up to two years to help a former suppose acclimate or transition to post-divorce life and will only be granted when there is evidence of short-term needs;
- Rehabilitative alimony, which is awarded to help a spouse become financially independent through training, education, work experience, or the development of new skills and will terminate upon the completion of a specific rehabilitative plan;
- Durational alimony, which is available to parties whose needs are not temporary in nature and cannot exceed the length of the marriage; and
- Permanent alimony, which is only awarded after lengthy marriages and are intended to help provide for the needs of a former spouse who will be unable to financially meet his or her own needs.
In most cases, a judge will award only a single type of alimony. If, for instance, one spouse is obtaining a college degree, he or she could be awarded rehabilitative alimony once the divorce is finalized. Those with short-term financial needs, on the other hand, are more likely to be awarded bridge the gap alimony, which only lasts for two years. It is also not uncommon, however, for courts to award more than one type of alimony in a single divorce proceeding.
Combining Alimony Awards
Some types of alimony are more likely to be awarded in conjunction with each other. Temporary alimony awards, which terminate automatically after a divorce proceeding ends, for instance, are often combined with other forms of support, such as bridge the gap or rehabilitative alimony. Whether a court is willing to award multiple types of alimony, however, will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, including whether any factual findings demonstrate the need for financial assistance and whether the other party has the ability to pay. Courts also consider the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s financial resources, and both parties’ earning capacities. Once these elements have been weighed, the court will decide whether a single form of alimony is appropriate or whether a combination of awards would be most appropriate.
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Speaking to experienced alimony lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at our Fort Lauderdale office is free of charge. Contact us at 954-945-7591 or complete one of our online contact forms to get in touch with a member of our dedicated legal team today.