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Articles Posted in Alimony

There are different types of alimony the Florida courts can award in divorce proceedings, including permanent alimony. Permanent alimony is not as permanent as the name suggests but can be adjusted if a court finds that a modification is warranted. The court will only grant a modification if there is evidence that it is necessary due to a change in circumstances that is both material and substantial, however, as demonstrated in a recent Florida case. If you have questions regarding alimony or the financial ramifications of divorce, it is smart to confer with a knowledgeable Miami divorce attorney as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the wife filed a petition to modify the periodic payment of permanent alimony awarded to the husband via a marital settlement agreement that was adopted by the trial court as part of the parties’ divorce judgment. Specifically, she requested that the court impute income to the husband based on the fact that he was eligible to receive Social Security benefits, even though he had not applied for such benefits. The court denied her petition, finding that she failed to adequately prove that there had been a material and substantial change in either her or the husband’s circumstances that warranted a modification. The wife then appealed.

Grounds for Modifying Alimony Awards

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. In doing so, it stated that pursuant to established case law, a trial court cannot impute the value of Social Security benefits that a person is eligible to receive but has not yet applied for as income to a person if they offer evidence showing that their decision to defer the benefits is merely a prudent investment strategy, as their benefits will increase if they do not take them until a later date. Continue reading ›

There is typically some delay between the time a couple decides to end their marriage and the date ultimately determined to be the effective date of the end of the marriage. While the difference may seem insignificant, it is essential for determining issues like property division and spousal support. Recently, a Florida court discussed the distinction between the two dates in a case in which the wife argued that the court relied on the wrong date when determining equitable distribution.  If you are contemplating seeking a divorce, it is advisable to confer with a seasoned Miami divorce lawyer to assess your rights.

The Divorce Action

It is reported that the couple married in 1996 and separated in 2008. They did not enter into a formal separation agreement, but both began relationships with other people. In 2018, the husband filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. The wife filed a counter-petition in which she sought alimony. The court held a trial on the issue of alimony and equitable distribution, during which it determined the effective date of the end of the marriage to be 2008. As such, it denied the wife’s request for alimony. The wife filed a motion for rehearing, arguing that the court erred in determining the effective termination date to be 2008 rather than 2018.

Determining the Effective Date for the Termination of Marriage

The appellate court agreed with the wife’s argument that the trial court improperly calculated the effective date for the termination of the marriage. It found the error to be harmless, however and therefore affirmed the trial court’s rulings with regard to property division and alimony. Continue reading ›

While many people assume that women are the primary caregivers for their children, it is not unusual for a husband and wife to decide that the husband will stay at home to care for the children while the wife works. As a result, if a marriage terminates because the husband does not work, the husband has the right to claim alimony from the wife. In a recent divorce case in Florida, the court explored when alimony is acceptable and what considerations should be considered when deciding whether it should be granted. If you or your spouse intends to file for divorce, consult with an experienced Florida family law attorney to see how the breakdown of your marriage will affect your finances.

History of the Case

It alleged that the husband and wife married in 2006 and had two children. From 2011 until 2017, the couple decided that the husband would stay at home and care for the children, and he did not work. He acquired a job in retail when he returned to work, earning around $1,400.00 per month. The wife worked as an auditor and got annual payments from a family trust fund, earning roughly $9,000.00 each month.

According to reports, the wife petitioned for divorce in 2017 and the husband counter-petitioned for alimony. The court awarded the husband $2,000.00 per month in alimony for sixty months and ordered the woman to pay child support to the husband in the final decision released in 2018. The wife filed an appeal, claiming that the trial court erred in giving the husband durational alimony. Continue reading ›

Broadly speaking, Florida courts have the authority to grant alimony and establish the proper amount of maintenance. However, the courts must follow specific rules, and if they award alimony outside of the prescribed bounds without good reason, their decisions may be overturned. A Florida court recently reviewed grounds for overturning a trial court’s alimony order in a divorce case when the support obligation left the paying party with significantly less money than the party receiving support. If you want to dissolve your marriage or have been served with divorce papers, you should contact a reputable Florida divorce attorney as soon as possible to discuss your choices.

The Trial Court’s Decision

According to reports, the couple filed a petition for divorce. The parties each presented external auditors who testified about the husband’s ability to pay alimony during the case’s trial. The experts’ opinions were based on the value of the husband’s business, changes in industry norms that affected his firm, operational costs, and the line of credit he was obliged to maintain for the business’s operation.

The wife’s expert allegedly stated that she required more than $9,000 every month and that the husband earned more than $15,000 each month. The husband’s expert, on the other hand, testified that the wife needed about $7,800 each month and that the husband had a negative net income of about $2,000 each month. The trial court determined that the husband could pay $8,000 per month in alimony and ordered him to give the wife with dental and health insurance as well as get a life insurance policy to guarantee the alimony. The husband filed an appeal. Continue reading ›

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 ›

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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