Alimony is payment made to one spouse by the other, designed to put both parties on sound financial footing after divorce. The most typical scenario is that alimony is paid by a higher earning spouse to a lower earning, or nonworking spouse, in order to allow both husband and wife to maintain the lifestyle to which they became accustomed during the marriage. The goal of alimony is to allow the needy party to stand on their own financially when the marriage is finally dissolved. But, most parties ordered to pay alimony have a different feeling and often times fight the request. In a successful case the result is a lower payment amount, or a denial of the request for alimony. But is fighting the request worth the cost?
When the Court fixes an amount of child support or alimony, it takes into account the guidelines set by statute, and also the particular facts of each case. For example, if you have a child with special needs an adjustment in the amount of child support as determined by the guidelines may be necessary. Likewise, if your spouse is unemployed but able to work it might be possible to impute an income amount when calculating alimony payments.
The 4th District Court of Appeals recently agreed with this position. In a case where both parties took early retirement, but the husband later returned to work the Court concluded the wife was employable and determined an amount of income that should be attributed to her when it reviewed an alimony award. The Court considered the following factors:
● Actual proof that an employer… Continue reading
Payment of alimony in Florida can have an element of permanency. Advocates on both sides of the financial equation are keeping their eye on possible reform to this structure. The issue is critical for both sides because for those that are making alimony payments, reform could mean an end to permanent payments. The issue? For those that receive, reform could mean an end to receiving permanent payments. We are ever mindful of the changing legislation that affects your financial stability in a divorce. We have experience representing both sides of this issue and offer sound advice for your position.
Alimony reform is a hot topic, but lawmakers have decided to table the issue. At least for 2014. Make no mistake, efforts to reform Florida’s outdated alimony payment structure will resurface. Some of the things to look for include:
● A reduction in long term… Continue reading
Most people agree that during divorce the single most important issue is the welfare of any children. A close second, or if no children were born of the marriage, is the issue of assets and property division. Some parties are able to peacefully divide their assets and liabilities, while other cases are found on the other end of the spectrum. Everything from failing to report income, to hiding assets can be uncovered during a divorce. In cases where the value of assets is significant, the parties are well advised to seek not only the advice of competent family law attorneys, but to also include an accountant on their team of professionals.
The benefit to using an accountant during divorce may depend on the amount of wealth of the parties. When suspicions of hidden assets arise, it is important to:
● Determine the… Continue reading
In this economy, we are frequently presented with cases in which a former spouse has failed to fulfill his or her monetary obligations under the terms of a divorce decree. Clients often assume that once the divorce decree is entered; the other party will simply comply with whatever awards it dictates. Unfortunately, this often turns out not to be the case and therefore, it is important to have a good understanding of the available remedies for the breach of a divorce obligation.
The most important concept to understand is that there is a distinction between property settlement awards and awards which are determined to be in the nature of support (alimony, child support, attorney’s fees). This distinction governs the remedies that are available and the loopholes which might exist for a non-complying party.
Property division awards in a divorce decree are treated… Continue reading
Chapter 61 provides divorce court judges with immense discretion in the determination of whether a spouse is entitled to alimony, what type of alimony is appropriate (if any) and the amount of the alimony award. Ultimately, these awards are reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard. This means that the alimony award will be upheld on appeal if the higher court finds that any reasonable jurist reviewing the similar facts would have ruled in the same manner. In other words, if the case was tried in front of 10 different judges and even one would have rendered the same alimony award; the judgment will stand up to appellate scrutiny.
However, while an alimony award is generally within the sound discretion of the court; that discretion is not unlimited or absolute. Therefore, the Trial Court is required… Continue reading
In this case, the parties were divorced on June 14, 2007 and an amended divorce judgment was entered two weeks later on June 30, 2007. The amended divorce order required the Former Husband to pay $ 8,000 in monthly alimony to the Former Wife. This appeal arises from the Former Husband’s unsuccessful attempt to modify his alimony obligation (which coincided with the Former Wife’s motion to increase that same alimony payment).
The Former Husband’s appeal rested on four (4) grounds: (1.) the denial of his application for a downward modification of alimony based upon his reduced income; (2.) the failure to reduce his child support obligation when his oldest child reached the age of majority; (3.) his claim that the there were constitutional deficiencies in the contemporaneous order citing him for contempt based upon his non-payment of alimony; and… Continue reading
In this case, the Final Judgment of divorce awarded the Former Wife $ 30,000 per month in permanent, periodic alimony. The Former Husband appealed to the First District Court of Appeal which held that the alimony award constituted reversible error because the Judgment lacked the requisite findings and was not based upon competent, substantial evidence.
Dr. and Mrs. Gray were married in 1992 while Dr. Gray was still in medical school. The record revealed that Mrs. Gray, who worked in public relations, supported the family while Dr. Gray completed medical school, his internship and his residence. The marriage lasted seventeen years, during which the parties had four children who ranged in age from 5-12 on the date that the divorce petition was filed. The parties ultimately agreed on the child-centric issues (child support, timesharing, etc)… Continue reading
Â On January 17, 2013 Representative Ritch Workman, a Republican serving District 52 in Melbourne, Florida introduced the latest version of an alimony reform bill which, if enacted, would represent the most sweeping changes to Florida divorce law in nearly four (4) decades.
Currently, Florida law provides for five (5) types of post-divorce alimony: (a.) bridge-the-gap alimony; (b.) rehabilitative alimony; (c.) durational alimony; (d.) lump sum alimony; and (e.) permanent, periodic alimony. There is no bright line rule for which type of alimony is appropriate in a given case but there has been a presumption for/against permanent alimony based upon the length of the marriage. More importantly, there has been no statutory formula used to calculate the amount of alimony that should be awarded. Instead, the legislature has provided the courts with guidance in the form of… Continue reading