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Articles Posted in Divorce

When a couple decides to divorce, the court is usually entrusted with settling matters like property distribution and whether either side is due child support or alimony . However, if the court makes an error or relies on false evidence, either side can appeal the decision. In a recent opinion in a Florida case, the grounds for seeking and getting a reversal of a trial court ruling in a divorce action were discussed. If you want to end your marriage, you should speak with an experienced Florida divorce lawyer about your options.

The Decision of the Trial Court

The couple allegedly wanted to end their marriage through divorce. Following the trial court’s issuance of a final ruling ending the marriage both parties appealed. The husband, among other things, opposed the equitable division, while the wife protested the child support award. The court overturned the trial court’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Orders in Divorce Cases Can Be Reversed

Initially, the husband objected to the trial court’s equitable distribution order. The abuse of discretion threshold is applied to a trial court’s allocation of marital responsibilities and assets, according to the appellate court. Furthermore, factual determinations based on significant competent evidence must be used to support the final distribution of marital assets. Continue reading ›

Married couples often accumulate assets over the course of their marriage, and how that property should be split is often one of the most contentious issues when they divorce. The state of Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that the courts are free to divide marital assets in any way they see proper. Whether a court distributes property equally or unequally, it must establish a factual foundation for its decision, and if it fails to do so, the decision may be overturned. This was recently proven in a Florida opinion issued in a divorce proceeding. It is in your best interest to contact with a Florida divorce attorney about your rights if you decide to end your marriage.

The Case’s Background

The couple allegedly married in 2002. During their marriage, they had two little children. The spouse served in the US military until he was honorably discharged in 2017 owing to mental and physical injuries sustained in many incidents. The Veterans Administration determined that he was 100 percent disabled and awarded him disability compensation.

Later that year, the wife reportedly filed for divorce. The husband stayed in the marital house, while the woman moved in with her parents with the children. Both parties filed an equitable distribution worksheet to seek an equitable allocation of the assets. The husband sought that he be allowed to maintain the marital home in exchange for taking on the mortgage, whilst the wife urged that the house be sold and the proceeds split. The court delivered a final ruling that mostly followed the husband’s planned asset and liability division, but ordered the marital home to be sold. The husband filed an appeal. Continue reading ›

It is critical to litigate a family law issue in the proper jurisdiction in order to preserve the rights of all parties concerned. When a couple has lived in more than one jurisdiction during the course of their marriage, the question of which state or country has the authority to decide over the divorce proceedings might lead to contentious disagreements. In a case where divorce proceedings were filed in both Spain and Florida, a Florida court recently reviewed the process of assessing what court has jurisdiction over a divorce action. If you wish to seek a divorce, you should consult with an experienced Florida family law attorney to assess what actions you should take to protect your rights.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and wife, both Spanish citizens, married in Spain in 2008. They moved to Southern Florida after having two children. They were subsequently accused of criminal activity in Luxembourg, after which the husband pressured the wife to sign an agreement. The wife refused and then fled with the children to Florida, prompting the husband to submit an emergency petition for the children’s return as well as a divorce petition.

It is reported that the husband subsequently filed a second divorce petition in Spain. Following his dismissal of the Florida case, the wife filed her own divorce petition in Florida. The husband then served the wife with the Spanish divorce petition and moved to dismiss the Florida case. The court ultimately concluded that Spain had jurisdiction over the matter and granted the husband’s motion. The wife appealed. Continue reading ›

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The most divisive issues in many divorce proceedings are how to distribute property and whether either party is due to spousal maintenance. In some cases, spousal support may be appropriate, but the court must first establish specific factual findings before issuing an order requiring one spouse to provide financial support to the other; otherwise, the decision may be unfair. In a recent Florida opinion, a court discussed whether alimony was acceptable after the husband challenged an order providing the wife support. If you’ve decided to seek a divorce, it is smart to enlist the services of an experienced Florida divorce lawyer to fight for your rights.

The Factual Background

It is reported that the husband and wife had been married for over two decades when the wife filed for divorce in 2016. The husband worked as a neurologist for most of the marriage, but he had a heart attack four years after they married and received disability payments, so he cut back on his work hours. The wife was initially was a stay-at-home mom but went back to work as a physical therapist a few years before the marriage ended.

Allegedly, the husband was earning around $200,000 per year at the time of the divorce, while the wife was making around $85,000. The court issued an order awarding the wife alimony in the amount of $2,000 per month. The husband filed an appeal, claiming that the court had failed to make the requisite factual findings to sustain the order. Continue reading ›

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If a party declines to reply to a complaint in a divorce matter, the court may issue a default judgment against them, just as it might in other lawsuits. While a default decision may be appropriate in a simple divorce case, it is not acceptable in a case involving child custody. In a recent Florida opinion, the appellate court discussed whether a judgment by default in a custody matter was proper, ultimately ruling that it was not. If you or your spouse intends to seek a dissolution of your marriage, it is critical to understand your rights, and you should meet with a capable Florida divorce attorney as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the couple wed in 2015. They had one child together, but shortly thereafter ended their romantic relationship. The wife instituted a divorce action in 2019. The wife noted in her petition that the parties shared a child. The wife was living in Key West, the husband in Illinois, and the child was living with the husband’s relatives in Florida at the time. A Sheriff’s deputy in Illinois personally served the divorce papers to the husband.

The husband allegedly did not appear in court or make any attempt to challenge the divorce. A hearing took place in February 2020, and a special magistrate suggested that the wife’s petition be granted, giving her sole custody of the child. The court subsequently issued a default judgment, terminating the marriage and awarding exclusive custody of the child to the wife. The husband then filed an appeal. Continue reading ›

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In many divorce actions, the financial means of the parties are disputed, leading to contentious and protracted litigation. The Florida courts generally aim to issue fair and impartial rulings regarding child support and alimony in accordance with the statutory guidelines, however, which requires, in part, that they conduct a thorough assessment of the need of the party seeking support and the ability of the opposing party to pay. If a court fails to conduct an adequate evaluation prior to awarding support, it may constitute grounds for reversal. This was demonstrated recently in an opinion issued by a Florida court in a divorce matter. If you are considering ending your marriage, it is smart to speak to a trusted Florida divorce lawyer to discuss how a divorce may impact you financially.

The History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife lived together for eight years prior to marrying and were married for fourteen years. They had two children during their marriage. The wife filed a petition for dissolution of marriage, which set off eight years of litigation. The parties signed a prenuptial agreement shortly before their marriage that was later deemed invalid by the trial court.

Allegedly, the husband served in the United States Armed Forces, and after he retired, worked as a sheriff’s deputy. He also performed jobs when he was off duty. His income fluctuated throughout the course of the divorce proceedings, and at times his net monthly income was slightly less than $6,000. The wife was medically unable to work, and therefore the trial court declined to impute income to her. The trial court ordered the husband to pay $7,500 each month for child support and alimony. The husband appealed. Continue reading ›

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In some marriages, one spouse relies on the other for financial support. As such, if a couple with disparate income decides to divorce,  the lesser earning spouse may seek alimony. The courts must assess multiple factors in determining whether alimony is appropriate, and if they fail to conduct a thorough evaluation, their rulings may be overturned. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida case, in which the appellate court vacated the trial court’s order on the grounds the trial court failed to determine if the wife was entitled to alimony. If you or your spouse intend to seek a divorce, it is advisable to confer with a Florida divorce attorney to assess how the dissolution of your marriage may impact you financially.

The Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the husband and the wife were married in 1996. In 2018, the wife filed a petition for dissolution of the marriage, in which she sought rehabilitative alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony, and permanent alimony due to the length of the marriage. She asked the court to require the husband to maintain a life insurance policy naming her as a beneficiary as well.

It is alleged that the court found that the husband’s total monthly expenses were close to $7,000, while the wife’s total expenses were slightly less than $3,000. Further, the court noted that the wife had amassed some savings while the husband had none. Thus, the court found that the husband lacked the ability to pay alimony and denied the wife’s request. It also declined to require the husband to maintain life insurance. The wife appealed. Continue reading ›

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In many marriages, one spouse is the primary breadwinner while the other largely takes care of the household. When such marriages end, then, the courts may find it appropriate to award the spouse with lesser means alimony. The courts will evaluate numerous factors in determining appropriate alimony, including the length of the marriage. While permanent alimony may be awarded in some instances, it is rarely appropriate in cases involving short-term marriages. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida opinion in which an appellate court reversed a trial court order granting a party permanent alimony due to the fact the trial court misapplied the applicable standard. If you or your spouse intend to end your marriage, it is smart to consult a Florida divorce lawyer to evaluate how you can protect your financial health.

The History of the Case

It is reported that wife one and wife two were married for three years before divorcing. Prior to marrying, they lived together for twenty-four years. Four years before they decided to wed, wife two suffered health issues. Wife one verbally advised her that she could stop working and that she would provide for both of them financially. Thus, at the time of the divorce, wife two sought alimony. The trial court ultimately awarded wife two permanent alimony. Wife one appealed, arguing the court improperly considered the length of the couple’s relationship prior to the marriage in issuing the award.

Permanent Alimony Under Florida Law

An appellate court will uphold an alimony award if it is supported by competent evidence. Under Florida law, permanent alimony may only be awarded following a short-term marriage, which is one that lasts less than seven years, if the court issues written findings that exceptional circumstances are present. Further, if a court grants a party permanent alimony after a short-term marriage, the order must include a finding that no other form of alimony is reasonable and fair given the parties’ circumstances. Continue reading ›

When a couple with disparate economic resources divorces, the court will often grant the lesser earning spouse alimony. The courts make alimony determinations, in part, by assessing each party’s income. Unfortunately, some people try to avoid support obligations by underreporting their income. Courts are not bound by financial disclosures they believe are inaccurate, however, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling in which the court affirmed an order holding a husband in contempt for failing to provide discovery on his ability to pay support to his former wife. If you need assistance with an alimony issue, it is prudent to speak to a knowledgeable Florida divorce attorney to discuss your options.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that in March 2014, the trial court dissolved the couple’s marriage. Pursuant to a consent agreement, the husband was obligated to pay the wife $2,600 in permanent alimony and over $1,000 per month as repayment for a personal loan. In May 2016, the wife moved to hold the husband in contempt on the grounds that he failed to pay her either the alimony or the loan payment. Prior to the hearing on the motion, they entered into a second agreement in which the husband agreed to pay a lump sum of $5,000 per month and $18,000 in arrearages in payments of $5,996 per month.

Allegedly, the wife moved for contempt for non-payment a year later, while the husband moved to modify his obligations, arguing he could not afford the payments. He also refused to comply with discovery requests regarding his income. His arrears reached $100,000, and the court sanctioned him for failing to comply with discovery. A hearing was held, after which the court determined the husband had the ability to pay support but willing refused to do so and ordered him to pay almost $30,000 in attorney’s fees and $14,500 in contempt sanctions within 60 days or face jail time. The husband appealed, arguing he lacked the ability to pay the purge amount. Continue reading ›

In some divorce scenarios in Florida, the court may award sole occupancy of the marital home to one spouse and order the other spouse to make the payment on that home if the latter earns the bulk of the income. Judges are allowed to do this and frequently do. If you’re the spouse making the payment, it is important to recognize that you are entitled to certain benefits for meeting that expense. To make sure that you are getting all the credit you deserve for fulfilling this financial obligation, be sure that you have skilled representation from an experienced South Florida divorce lawyer.

The contested divorce of V.M. and L.M. is a good example. After the two divorced, the trial judge granted the wife exclusive occupancy of the house until the couple’s child reached age 18.

The order also placed the obligation for paying the mortgage and the HOA fees on the husband until the child reached the age of majority.

Continue reading ›

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