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Bridge-the-Gap Alimony


Family in need of attorney

Florida offers several options for spousal support. Knowing the options available to you is vital. As Alimony Attorneys, we understand that every client’s circumstances are unique. For some, the need for support following a divorce may be temporary or short-term, while for others there may be a need for ongoing payments, whether on a permanent basis, or to allow a recipient the time necessary to become self-supporting.

The client focused results driven attorneys at the Gainesville Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. represent clients in a full range of support proceedings, including those involving the request for, or defense of, ‘bridge-the-gap’ alimony.

Bridge-the-gap alimony is a unique type of spousal support that is “designed to assist a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs.” See, Fla. Stat. §61.08(5). Alimony that is granted on a bridge-the-gap basis has distinct characteristics that sets it apart, and should not be confused with other types of support awards, such as ‘rehabilitative alimony’ or ‘durational alimony.’ [Note: click on the phrase to read more on these alternate forms of spousal support].

The first distinguishing aspect of bridge-the-gap support is that it may not exceed a length of two years. Second, neither the duration nor amount of bridge-the-gap alimony is subject to modification. Given the limitations to modifying this type of alimony, it is important to make sure that bridge-gap support orders are properly established, because once they are awarded, your only potential remedy may be appealing the judgment, which must be done within time frame required by law, in accordance with procedural rules, and based upon proper grounds. For more information, see Family Law Appeals.

Determining the appropriate amount of bridge-the-gap support, as with other forms of alimony will depend on the needs of the recipient, as well as the other spouse’s ability to pay. The party requesting bridge-the-gap alimony must provide the court with evidence which clearly identifies a valid need. Further, bridge-the-gap support awards generally cannot leave a paying party with significantly less income than the recipient. However, the court can vary from this general rule if it finds that ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist, such as where a party is disabled and unable to work.

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Upon establishing need and ability to pay, the court will then consider the factors set forth in Fla. Stat. §61.08(2)(a)-(j), including prior standard of living; marriage duration; age and physical/emotional condition; financial resources/assets/liabilities; earning capacities; contribution to marriage; child-rearing responsibilities; tax consequences; as well as all other relevant circumstances of each party. These factors are used in determining all forms of support awards, whether temporary, durational, rehabilitative, or permanent.

It is important to note that bridge-the-gap alimony does share the same termination characteristics of other types of alimony, in that support shall terminate in the event of either party’s death or the recipient’s remarriage. However, termination of support is not automatic. In other words, a formal request must be made to terminate payments. With regard to remarriage in particular, both the recipient and payer should consider the potential for termination, and the resulting loss of support on one end, and elimination of financial obligation on the other.

Whether you are seeking to establish spousal support, are defending a support request, or need assistance enforcing an existing support order, our Gainesville Family Law attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to provide you with sound legal representation in all aspects of the alimony process. At the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A., seeking justice on behalf of our clients, has and continues to remain our primary goal.