It is within the authority of the Florida courts not only to award alimony in divorce actions but also to modify existing alimony orders. In either scenario, however, the court must set forth certain factual findings; otherwise, any order issued may be subject to reversal. This was illustrated in a recent Florida action in which the wife successfully appealed an alimony modification due to the court’s failure to set forth required statutory findings. If you have questions about alimony, it is smart to talk to an attorney promptly.
Facts of the Case
It is reported that the parties divorced. They entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement in 2007; at that time, the husband was 51 years old. The agreement stated, in part, that the husband would pay alimony to the wife and that the monthly payments, which were subject to an annual adjustment in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, were otherwise not modifiable until the husband turned 60. Between the ages of 60 and 65, the husband could seek a modification for a material, substantial, unanticipated, and permanent change in financial circumstances. The husband sought a modification when he was 62. The court granted the husband’s request and reduced his monthly alimony obligation by over half. The wife appealed.
Required Statutory Findings in Florida Alimony Actions
On appeal, the wife argued that the trial court failed to make the statutory findings required for modifying alimony, the trial court improperly imputed income to her, there was insufficient evidence to show she experienced a substantial and material change in financial circumstances, and the modification was inequitable.
The court agreed that the trial court failed to make the necessary statutory findings and reversed the trial court ruling. Specifically, the court stated that the trial court’s orders did not recite the requisite statutory findings of section 61.08(2) of the Florida Statutes, which applies not only to the initial alimony award but also to any modification of an alimony award.
Such findings include the standard of living the parties enjoyed during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the age and physical and emotional health of each party, and the financial resources, both marital and non-marital, of each party. The court elaborated that a full recitation of section 61.08(2) findings is necessary to review the appropriateness of an alimony award. As such, it reversed the trial court ruling without addressing the wife’s remaining assertions.
Meet with a Trusted Miami Attorney
The Florida courts must not only consider numerous statutory factors when granting a party alimony, but also when modifying any existing alimony award. If you have concerns about your obligations or rights with regard to alimony, it is smart to meet with an attorney. The trusted Miami lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., can inform you of your options and help you to pursue the best result possible under the facts of your case. Our office is in Aventura, and we frequently represent people in divorce matters in Miami. You can contact us through our online form or at 800-596-0579 to schedule a consultation.