Divorce Overview, part 4



 Another factor that comes into play is alimony.  Many of those who, at the time of marriage, did not want their spouse to work outside the home find themselves believing it to be unfair that they may have to pay spousal support (alimony).  After all, if they are no longer married, why should one person still be obligated to provide support to the other?  On the other hand, the spouse whose marital contribution including staying at home, and perhaps, raising children, may have given up secondary education or the ability to pursue an income-producing career by doing so.  Should this spouse have the benefit of financial assistance after the marriage?  If so, should it be long-term or short-term?

The courts, by and large, recognize these issues and the case law regarding alimony describes various options, including permanent periodic, durational, rehabilitative, and bridge-the-gap alimony.  Permanent periodic alimony may be awarded after a long-term marriage, and requires the income-producing spouse to pay the other alimony until one of them dies or the recipient spouse remarries.  Rehabilitative alimony is paid for a specific period of time and provides the recipient spouse with money while obtaining education or specialized training in order to get on a career track and be self-supporting.  Bridge-the-gap was the new kid on the alimony block until recently when Florida law created Durational alimony.  Bridge-the-gap alimony is paid for a very short period of time in an effort to assist the receiving spouse in getting over the financial burden that often occurs when transitioning from being married to being single.  Durational alimony can be paid for as long as the marriage lasted.  In awarding alimony, the Court must be able to justify its decisions or face the possibility of an appeal, which may overturn a decision.