When most couples decide to marry, their thoughts are seldom on preparing for an eventual divorce. In fact, despite the common perception that divorces are common, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says otherwise. According to a 2011 survey, the CDC estimates that only 3.6 marriages out of every 1,000 ended in divorce that year.
However, the reality is that marital misconduct such as an incident of domestic violence or the discovery of infidelity can destroy even the most stable of marriages. Often in such cases, a spouse is taken completely by surprise. Usually a victim of such marital misconduct has very little time to prepare for a life on his or her own. The additional burden of having to care for children during such disasters further exasperates those situations for surprised spouses.
Gratefully, Florida law contemplates that some spouses may be put into a financial bind as a result of their marriages ending. For that reason, Florida family law courts can award money aimed at assisting a spouse meet his or her short-term financial needs. This so-called "bridge the gap" form of alimony cannot exceed two years and must only fulfill a spouse's legitimate and identifiable needs.
Perhaps most interesting clause in the bridge the gap alimony provision is that once awarded, it cannot be modified. This means that the court cannot later reduce the awarded amount nor decrease the length of time that a spouse is entitled to receive those alimony payments.
If you were recently blindsided by your spouse's marital misconduct, there are many things to consider prior to ending your marriage. Perhaps most important of those considerations will be whether you can continue to look out for the safety and well-being of your children without your spouse's financial support.
Our Miami law firm helps clients with a variety of family law issues, including alimony and child support. We utilize a network of private investigators and forensic accountants to ensure that our client's best interests are served. There is no fee to potential clients who are seeking consultation with our attorneys on issues regarding child support or alimony.