Florida’s Alimony May Be Getting a Facelift

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Florida alimony is due for a facelift and this year’s legislation has decided to do the work. Currently, Florida House Bill 907 is sitting on Governor Crist’s desk for a signature. What does this mean for those who may receive or pay alimony?
Well the main change will be that “Bridge-the-Gap” alimony, which historically is designed for a determinable (by the Court) period of time to provide for support from married to single life. Now, the time-frame will be defined with a stroke of Governor Crist’s pen.
According to the intent of Florida HB 907, “Bridge-the-Gap” alimony will no longer be dependent on issues surrounding the divorce, but simply a two (2) year time frame. This type of support will be available for no more than two (2) years. While some who are recipients of this type of alimony may be cringing as they read, the reality is that this may not be a bad thing for either party. The reason is, if you become too reliant on money that is only there for a short period of time, previously 1 – 5 years, then it will make the inevitable transition that much more difficult. Knowing that you only have, no matter what, 2 years to rehabilitate yourself from married to single life, actually gives you a timeframe to see where you’re going and when you need to get there.
The pie in the sky can be a bitter sweet transition in the family law world. However, what about the reality that some individuals may need more education? Well, rehabilitative alimony is getting a few nips and tucks, but it is still going to be an option.
The difference between “Bridge-the-Gap” and “Rehabilitative” is that the first is designed to smooth the transition so that you have additional income to help support your bills until you can get them reduced. The latter, rehabilitative, is designed for the individuals that need just that, rehabilitation into the working world. For some couples, one may not have finished college because s/he was supporting his/her spouse and now to get back into the working world s/he needs to finish school. This may be a two year process or a five year plan, it is dependent on the need and history of the marriage (length, standard of living, educational history, etc.).
Due to possible changes in the Florida law, it is vital that you find out your options from someone qualified to inform you of them. Contact an attorney about when these changes, if signed, will take affect and how they may affect you.