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.
So, what type of credit am I entitled to in this situation?
As the appeals court noted in this case, the husband’s payments of the mortgage and the HOA fees qualified as a type of spousal support. Even if your judge doesn’t explicitly state that your obligation to pay the mortgage and the HOA fees is a form of alimony, you may be entitled to claim that it was “implicit in the judgment,” which is to say that, based on context, the obligation clearly was spousal support.
There are several types of evidence you can present to support your argument that the mortgage payments you’re making count as alimony. For one thing, if the judge “did not factor those payments into the division of proceeds from the eventual sale of the home,” that’s considered a telltale sign that the obligation was alimony. Additionally, if the trial court says that “the payments were to be taken into account in its alimony determination,” that’s also powerful evidence that the obligation was alimony.
Why that Payment Counting as ‘Alimony’ Matters
At this juncture, you may be wondering… OK, so it’s alimony… how am I getting credit for anything? The answer to that is child support. Section 61.30 of the Florida Statutes says that a supporting parent’s alimony obligations should be deducted from that parent’s gross income when calculating net income. (Your child support payment generally will be calculated based on the Child Support Guidelines and the amount of your net income.)
So, while that house payment won’t make your alimony payment any lower, it may result in a much lower child support payment and provide you with some financial relief in that regard.
Whether you are dealing with an alimony issue, a child support issue, or some other type of family law matter, you need to protect yourself by making sure you have the powerful legal representation necessary for a successful outcome. Look to the experienced South Florida family law attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A., where our team has extensive experience helping people just like you and is ready to get to work on your case. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation today.