Alimony or spousal support often gets a bad reputation. Some people look at it as one spouse trying to bleed the other spouse’s finances dry. However, most alimony awards have distinct purposes.
The law allows for these awards to assist the spouse who is in a vulnerable financial position. They usually have a specific purpose and include an end date so that the paying spouse will not be on the hook for alimony forever, yet the spouse receiving the money will get the most benefits. One option the court may offer is bridge-the-gap alimony.
Definition of bridge-the-gap
Bridge-the-gap alimony has a fitting name because the whole goal with it is to assist one spouse as he or she transitions to a single-income life. It can be difficult to go from being part of a couple with a dual income or a situation where only one spouse made money to a life where you have to be responsible for your own finances.
Bridge-the-gap intends to give the spouse who either made less money or did not work as he or she gets accustomed to being financially independent.
The details of bridge-the-gap
When a court orders bridge-the-gap alimony, it will set an end date for payments of now more than two years from the date of the order. The judge does not have the ability to extend it beyond two years as the law sets this limitation. However, the judge can set the award for less than two years.
In most cases, the spouse who is paying will continue payments for the full term awarded by the court. The only exception is if one of the spouses dies or if the receiving spouse remarries.
Unlike other forms of alimony, there is no option to modify bridge-the-gap. The order stands as-is until it expires.
This short-term alimony option may be the right choice in situations where there may be contention about paying any form of support or where one spouse will eventually be able to handle his or her finances independently.