When A Spouse Can (and Cannot) Get Temporary Alimony Pending the Outcome of an Appeal in Florida

Life is full of twists, turns, and surprises. Sometimes, your family law issues can turn out to be the same way. Even though you may think that you have a firm grasp on everything that your case will entail, there can be unexpected events. It could be learning some previously undiscovered fact, or it could be something related to the law or procedural rules affecting your case. These are all reasons to have an experienced Florida alimony lawyer on your side. With a skilled attorney handling your case, you can respond appropriately, even when unusual or unplanned things happen.

A man named David found himself in such a scenario when going through the court system in South Florida. He and his wife, Liudmyla, were going through a divorce in Broward County. As part of that case, the wife asked for alimony. The judge denied the request entirely when he entered the final judgment of divorce. Some time later, the wife made a motion for disqualification, which meant that she was asking the judge to remove himself from the case. The judge granted that request, and David and Liudmyla’s case was reassigned to a different trial court judge in Broward County.

Two months later, the wife made a new request, this one with the new judge, asking for an award of temporary alimony pending appeal. In many situations, the correct way for a judge in Florida to decide a spouse’s entitlement to alimony is to weigh the requesting spouse’s need against the would-be supporting spouse’s ability to pay. The second judge reviewed the facts on the record in the case and, after weighing David’s ability to pay versus Liudmyla’s need, awarded temporary alimony to the wife.

The husband appealed the award of temporary alimony, and he won. While a lot of alimony cases come down to need versus ability to pay, the procedural history of David’s case had an unusual turn that made an important difference. In this case, the trial court (with the first judge presiding) had already rejected the wife’s request for alimony after a full trial when he entered the judgment of divorce. When a spouse asks for temporary alimony pending appeal after a judge has already denied alimony after a full trial, the law allows the courts to award that temporary alimony only in rare situations. Those circumstances require proof that the award of temporary alimony is necessary to protect the welfare and the rights of the spouse requesting the award.

The judge in David’s case did not analyze the status of Liudmyla’s welfare and rights, so the award of temporary alimony was not proper. This ruling meant that the couple had to head back to the trial court in order for that court to analyze the state of Liudmyla’s welfare. Additionally, if the trial court awarded her temporary alimony, the appeals court instructed it to consider giving David a setoff (or credit) in the calculation of the equitable distribution of the couple’s assets.

Your case may seem to be proceeding normally when you unexpectedly encounter an unplanned event, like the judge in your case granting your spouse’s motion for disqualification. Regardless of what the unexpected hurdle is in your case, you can be prepared with knowledgeable Florida alimony counsel. The diligent South Florida divorce attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. have the skills and resources to help with your divorce, alimony, equitable distribution, or other family law dispute. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.

More blog posts:

Retirement, Changes in Income and Modification of Alimony in Florida,Modification of Alimony and Retroactive Application in Florida, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Dec. 14, 2017

Modification of Alimony and Retroactive Application in Florida, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Aug. 16, 2017


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