Articles Posted in Spousal Support

Generally, Florida courts have the discretion to award alimony and to determine what amount of support is appropriate. The courts must adhere to certain guidelines, however, and if they grant alimony awards that fall outside of the established parameters without just cause, their rulings may be overturned. Recently, a Florida court discussed grounds for reversing a trial court’s ruling with regards to an alimony award in a divorce case in which the support obligation left the payor with far less income than the payee. If you wish to end your marriage or were served with divorce papers, it is smart to speak to a trusted Florida divorce lawyer as soon as possible to evaluate your options.

The Trial Court Ruling

It is reported that the parties filed a petition for marital dissolution. During the trial of the matter, the parties each presented forensic accountants who testified regarding the husband’s ability to pay alimony. The experts’ opinions were based on the value of the husband’s business, changes in industry standards that affected his business, the costs of operating the business, and the line of credit he was required to preserve for its operation.

Allegedly, the wife’s expert testified that she needed in excess of $9,000 per month and that the husband earned over $15,000 a month. In contrast, the husband’s expert testified the wife needed approximately $7,800 a month, and the husband had a net negative income of around $2,000 per month. The trial court ruled the husband could pay $8,000 per month and ordered the husband to provide dental and health insurance for the wife and to obtain a life insurance policy to secure the alimony. The husband appealed. Continue reading ›

In many divorce cases, the most contested issues are how property should be divided and whether either party is entitled to spousal support. Spousal support may be warranted in some instances, but the court must make certain factual findings prior to issuing an order dictating that one spouse must provide the other with financial support; otherwise, the ruling may be unjust. In a recent Florida opinion in a case in which the husband appealed an order granting the wife support, the issuing court explained when alimony is appropriate. If you decided to end your marriage, it is prudent to seek the assistance of a dedicated Florida divorce attorney to help you fight to protect your rights.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and the wife were married for more than twenty years before the wife filed for divorce in 2016. Throughout most of the marriage, the husband worked as a neurologist while the wife was a homemaker. He suffered a heart attack four years after they were married and reduced his work hours while receiving disability payments. In the years before the end of the marriage, the wife resumed working as a physical therapist. At the time of the divorce, the husband earned approximately $200,000 per year, while the wife earned around $85,000. The wife sought and received alimony in the amount of $2,000 per month. The husband appealed, arguing the court failed to make the factual determinations necessary to support the order.

Spousal Support Under Florida Law

Under Florida law, a court determining whether to award alimony must first make a specific determination of fact as to whether either spouse needs alimony. The court must evaluate whether either party has the ability to pay alimony as well. In the subject case, the appellate court found that the trial court failed to make the detailed findings required under Florida law. Continue reading ›

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