In this case, the parties were married in 1994 and were married for a period of sixteen (16) years prior to the filing of a petition for divorce. During the marriage, the parties had three (3) children. The Wife was not employed during the entire marriage. In the four (4) years prior to the divorce petition, the Former Husbandâ€™s income ranged from $ 394,510 in 2006 to 71,467 in 2009. (The opinion does not specify why the Former Husbandâ€™s income declined so dramatically in the years prior to the divorce.) Nevertheless, the Trial Court entered a final divorce judgment which awarded the Former Wife $ 1,500 per month in durational alimony, which was scheduled to last fourteen (14) years.
In addition to the alimony award, the Trial Court required the Former Husband to purchase a life insurance policy with a face value of $ 50,000 which would be used to secure the alimony obligation in the event of his death. The Former Husband did not appeal the alimony award itself but he did appeal the requirement that he purchase life insurance in order to secure the alimony award.
Florida divorce courts generally have the discretion to require payorâ€™s to purchase life insurance securing an alimony award but, in order to do so they must: (a.) make specific findings regarding the availability and costs of the insurance; (b.) determine that the payor has the ability to pay; Â and (c.) determine that there are special circumstances which necessitate the security on the alimony obligation. Â Â In this case, no such findings were made and therefore the matter was remanded to the Trial Court for additional findings.
The moral of the story is that divorce can be a complicated and detailed process which requires the assistance of a divorce lawyer who is experienced in the evidentiary requirements of each claim. This experience allows the attorney to become both a successful litigator and a trusted advisor to his clients. The members of the Ferraro Law Group have been representing divorce clients in and around Stuart, Florida for more than thirty (30) years.