Posted March 27, 2012 by Steve Effman in Marriage

Attorney Steven Effman Discusses Alimony: The Current State of Spousal Support

Alimony, previously termed spousal support, has a long history. It has evolved into the well-defined categories written into the law by the Florida legislature effective January 1, 2011. Until then, alimony was only referred to in the statutes in a general manner. As of 2011, there are now distinct and defined types of alimony, largely based on the years of marriage. We now have: Bridge-the-gap alimony, Rehabilitative alimony, Durational alimony, and Permanent periodic alimony.

In addition, temporary alimony has always been, and continues to be, available to the parties and the courts to maintain the spouse while the case progresses through the court system. The basic purpose of alimony is to provide support for the spouse who has the required “need,” from the spouse who has the required “ability to pay.” As now defined by the statute, the several types of alimony are:

Bridge-the-gap: to assist a party with a legitimate identifiable short-term need. This award may not exceed 2 years. It will automatically terminate upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the recipient. This type of alimony is not modifiable in amount or duration.

Rehabilitative: to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support. To be awarded this type of alimony, there must be a specific and defined rehabilitative plan presented.

Durational: (this is a new category created in this new law) to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration. It may be awarded when permanent alimony is inappropriate as determined by the court.

Permanent: to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties, for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage.

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The legislature also, for the first time, defined marriages as:

Short-term: less than 7 years, from date of marriage to date of filing of a divorce case.

Moderate-term: greater than 7 years but less than 17 years in duration, from date of marriage to date of filing of a divorce case.

Long-term: 17 years or greater in duration, from date of marriage to date of filing of a divorce case.

There are many facets of a divorce. It is imperative that each party be represented by an attorney with the knowledge, experience and skill required to represent the client and protect that client’s (and children’s) interests to the fullest.

Contact Steve Effman at 1000 south Pine Island Road, Suite 310 in Plantation, Florida. With his 34+ years of experience in handling the entire range of family matters, from uncontested divorces to highly complex family litigation, he is well equipped to handle your matter with knowledge, compassion and efficiency.

Steve Effman