Articles Posted in Alimony

While courts typically conducted family law hearings in person prior to 2020, since the COVID-19 pandemic, many proceedings have been held via video-teleconferencing. Regardless of whether hearings are conducted in person or over the internet, parties impacted by such hearings have certain rights, and if the court violates their rights, any rulings issued during the proceeding may be reversed. This was demonstrated recently in a Florida opinion issued in a divorce case in which the court ruled that the trial court infringed on the wife’s due process rights by ruling on matters in her absence. If you or your spouse wish to end your marriage, it is important to understand your rights and obligations, and you should talk to a Miami divorce attorney promptly.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife married in 2002 and had two minor children. They subsequently divorced, and in 2016, the trial court entered a final judgment dissolving their marriage. The trial court also appointed a parenting coordinator and guardian ad litem to help resolve other issues. The parties later filed multiple post-dissolution motions, seeking enforcement of the final judgment, contempt, and psychological evaluations.

Allegedly, the court scheduled a hearing for June 2021 to address certain financial issues. The court conducted the hearing over Zoom and, prior to commencing, confirmed it would only cover the issues previously indicated. The trial court stated it was going to order the wife to pay her share of the children’s tuition, after which she logged off. She logged back on ten minutes later, only to log off again when the court restated its intent. The court later ordered the wife to pay the husband the cost of the parenting coordinator’s fees in the wife’s absence. The wife appealed. Continue reading ›

It is a common practice for the Florida courts to issue orders in family law cases that impose obligations to pay child support or alimony. Additionally, to ensure that such obligations are upheld, the courts must issue a separate income withholding order. Recently, a Florida court discussed income withholding orders in a matter in which the wife objected to the trial court vacating an existing income withholding order. If you have questions concerning alimony, it is wise to confer with a dedicated Miami divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Facts of the Underlying Case

It is reported that the wife and husband divorced, and the court ordered the husband to pay alimony. In 2021, the husband moved for a modification of his obligation. The court granted the husband’s motion and issued an amended income withholding order. The wife appealed the trial court’s ruling, arguing that it erred by issuing the order without notice or granting her an opportunity to be heard. As the appeal was pending, the trial court vacated the income withholding order but did not enter a new order. The wife asserted that this was improper under Florida law as well. The husband did not pay any alimony during the pendency of the appeal.

Income Withholding Orders in Florida Family Law Cases

The court noted that the wife’s reasoning was correct and remanded the matter to the trial court, directing it to enter a new income withholding order. In its opinion, the court noted that the trial court was mandated to do so by Florida Statutes. Specifically, the law dictates that when entering an order establishing, modifying, or enforcing an obligation for child support, alimony, or both, unless the order is temporary, the court must enter a separate order for income withholding unless one has already been entered. Continue reading ›

Divorce can leave one party in a precarious financial situation. In many divorces, then, a person will seek alimony from their spouse. In evaluating whether alimony is warranted, the courts will look at not only if the party seeking alimony can demonstrate their need but also if the other party has the ability to pay. If either party’s economic circumstances change after a court enters an order granting alimony, the court may grant a modification. Recently, a Florida court discussed the factors considered in determining whether to terminate alimony in a case in which it upheld the trial court’s ruling. If you are considering ending your marriage and want to learn more about alimony, it is smart to meet with an experienced Miami divorce attorney.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife divorced in 2008. Their marital settlement agreement was incorporated into the final judgment of divorce. Among other things, the agreement dictated that the husband was to pay the wife $3,000 in alimony per month until the wife remarried, the husband reached the age of 65, or either party died. It stated that the obligation could be modified, but an increase in the wife’s income did not constitute grounds for a modification.

Allegedly, the husband filed a petition for modification in 2016 after he lost his job. The wife filed a motion for enforcement and contempt, as the husband had ceased paying alimony when he was terminated. There was no activity in the case until 2019, when the wife filed a second motion. The husband then filed a second petition for modification or termination. The case proceeded to trial, after which the court found that the husband had demonstrated a substantial and material change in circumstances and suspended his obligation until his ability to pay was restored. The wife then appealed. Continue reading ›

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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