Florida Court Discusses Grounds for Awarding Durational Alimony

While many people think of women as being the primary caretakers for children, it is not uncommon for a married couple to agree that the husband should remain at home to care for the couple’s children while the wife earns an income. As such, if a marriage in which the husband doesn’t work ends, the husband may seek alimony from the wife. In a recent Florida divorce case, the court discussed when alimony is appropriate and what factors should be considered in determining whether it should be granted. If you or your spouse intend to file for a divorce, it is prudent to meet with a trusted Florida family law attorney to determine how the dissolution of your marriage may impact you financially.

Factual and Procedural History

It is alleged that the husband and the wife married in 2006, after which they had two children. The couple agreed that the husband would stay at home to care for the children, and he did not work from 2011 to 2017. When he returned to the workforce, he got a job in retail, earning approximately $1,400.00 per month. The wife worked as an auditor, earning about $9,000.00 a month, and received annual payments from a family trust fund.

Reportedly, in 2017, the wife filed a petition for divorce, and the husband filed a counter-petition in which he sought alimony. In the final judgment issued in 2018, the court granted the husband $2,000.00 per month in alimony for sixty months and directed the wife to pay child support to the husband. The wife appealed, arguing that the trial court committed an error in awarding the husband durational alimony.

Grounds for Awarding Durational Alimony

Under Florida law, durational alimony may be awarded to provide a person with financial assistance for a set period of time. In evaluating whether to grant durational alimony, a court must first make a specific factual determination regarding the needs of the party seeking alimony as well as the ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to pay. If the court finds that alimony is warranted, it must then consider the relevant factors set forth under the Florida statutes to determine the appropriate amount and type of alimony.

In the subject case, the appellate court found that the evidence supported the trial court’s determination that the husband was entitled to alimony and that the wife had the ability to pay, but it erred in calculating the amount of alimony owed. Further, the trial court did not provide a basis for the duration of the alimony, other than the reasoning that the husband had been out of work for sixty months. Thus, the award of durational alimony was reversed, and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

Speak with a Seasoned Florida Attorney

In many instances in which a marriage ends, one spouse will seek alimony, but whether it will be granted depends on numerous factors. If you intend to end your marriage and you and your spouse have disparate incomes, it is important to speak to an attorney regarding your rights. The seasoned Florida family law attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can advise you of your options and help you to pursue the best outcome available under the facts of your case. We can be reached at 800-283-7442 or via the form online to set up a meeting.

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