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Permanent Periodic Alimony
This type of alimony is usually sought after by the spouse in need and usually dreaded by the spouse who is the primary wage earner. It is usually paid monthly during the lifetime of the recipient or until the recipient re-marries. Thus, this type of alimony can last longer than the marriage itself! It sometimes provides a disincentive for the recipient search for employment and breeds resentment in the party who pays. The law was substantially changed in 2010 to define a marriage characterized as "long term" to be a marriage in excess of 17 years. An award of Permanent Periodic Alimony is presumed to be appropriate in such cases if after referring to the factors it is otherwise appropriate. This type of alimony may also be awarded in moderate term marriages (7 to 17 years) but must be based upon the higher burden of proof of "clear and convincing" evidence. Under the new law it can even be awarded in short term marriages but only upon written findings of "exceptional circumstances" such as where the recipient spouse is older and more likely to be in need of support. For example, permanent periodic alimony may be available if the recipient has serious health problems. This type of alimony may be modified, or even terminated, upon a showing of substantially changes circumstances, remarriage of the recipient or upon the recipient entering into a "supportive relationship."
This type of alimony is able to be awarded for moderate term marriages now defined by the 2010 revisions as more than 7 years but less than 17 years. It is awarded when an award of permanent periodic alimony would be inappropriate. In order to be entitled to such an award of Durational Alimony reference must be made to the factors and the Court must find the award appropriate after consideration of the factors. This award is sought by the spouse in need and usually opposed by the spouse who is the primary wage earner. It is only awarded for a specific period of time which duration may not be in excess of the length of the marriage and is frequently shorter. The duration, once awarded, may never be modified however the amount could be modified upon a showing of a substantial change of circumstances.
Bridge the Gap Alimony
This type of alimony, as its name implies, is for short-term marriages, which have now been defined to be 7 years or less. It is intended to provide temporary assistance to transition from married life to single life. It is generally appropriate for younger spouses. If awarded it cannot be for a duration in excess of 2 years. Once awarded it may not be modified in either duration or amount.
This type of alimony is for a limited duration and is intended to provide assistance to a spouse who has been out of the workforce for a period of time. To obtain this type of alimony, a rehabilitative plan must be presented to the court. For example, returning to college to complete a degree or attending some type of training program that would enable the recipient spouse, upon completion of the program, to be employed and self-sufficient. Sometimes the money is paid directly to the college in the form of tuition to ensure the program is actually attended. This type of alimony is generally for a period of only a few years or the amount of time that is reasonably necessary to complete the program.
Florida requires an equitable distribution of the marital property (what is fair, not necessarily equal). Each spouse keeps the property and debts that belonged to them before the marriage. Each spouse also keeps any property received as a gift or inheritance, or any property that the spouses agree to divide in a written agreement. Any property that was acquired before the spouses married or that was received as a gift or inheritance is not considered marital property. If the spouses cannot come to an agreement, a court will divide the property and the debt.
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