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What types of short-term alimony can a court award?

Equality is an important principle for most Miami residents. It is also a central principle of the legal system, which strives to treat individuals equally no matter their personal circumstances.

In divorce cases, the court typically tries to obtain equality between the spouses. One way in which equality is accomplished, other than equally dividing the marital property, is by awarding alimony to one of the spouses in order to bridge the financial gap that may exist between the spouses. For instance, one spouse may earn a significantly higher income than the other, which can create large discrepancies in the individuals' standard of living after the divorce.

Courts have flexibility in awarding alimony and will examine the circumstances of each case to determine whether alimony is appropriate, and what type of alimony should be awarded. For example, the court can award "bridge-the-gap" alimony to allow one party to make the transition from being married to being single. This type of alimony is based on the party's short-term needs, and, by statute, an award of this kind of alimony may not exceed 2 years.

The court can also award rehabilitative alimony if one party needs assistance in developing skills or acquiring training or experience. For example, if one party has been out of the workforce and staying at home, while the other spouse was working, the rehabilitative alimony can be awarded to the stay-at-home spouse in order to allow that party to gain the necessary skills to get back in the workforce.

Finally, the court can award what is known as durational alimony to provide assistance for a certain set period of time after the marriage. This type of short-term alimony may terminate if the party remarries or if the party who makes payments dies.

As can be seen from the above, there are many types of short-term alimony that can be awarded by the court after a divorce. What particular award is appropriate will depend on the circumstances of each case.

Source: Florida Legislature, "Alimony," accessed on Nov. 7, 2015

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