Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

When is permanent alimony ordered in Florida? Under current statutory law, the court must make a finding that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances. Without this finding in the final judgment, the alimony award is subject to reversal on appeal. In one recent appellate case, although the former wife successful proved on the trial level that the former husband may have been hiding income, her award of permanent alimony was reversed in part because of the lack of the required finding in the final judgment.

In Velez v. Montalvo-Velez, 2D16-4794 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018), the parties were in a long-term marriage and the former wife was a stay-at-home mother during the marriage. The former husband claimed to receive less than $2,000 net income per month while the divorce case was pending. The former wife sought to prove the former husband was hiding income by having it sent to his adult children and his girlfriend.

The trial court found the former husband to be less than credible when it came to his income. It therefore ordered alimony in the amount of $370.00 per week. However, the final judgment did not make a finding that income was being imputed to him and how much income was being imputed to him. The appellate court held, “Our review is thus hampered, and we must reverse the alimony award and remand for the court to make the appropriate findings based on the record; the court may also conduct further proceedings as needed.”

Additionally, although the appellate court acknowledged that the award of permanent alimony may have been implicit in the trial court’s ruling given the length of the marriage, the former wife’s need for alimony and the former husband’s ability to pay it, the appellate court reversed the alimony award because the final judgment did not explicitly state that no other form of alimony was fair or reasonable given the circumstances of the case.

New laws take effect next year which will have tax consequences on your alimony payments. If you are facing an alimony judgment, schedule a consultation with a Miami divorce attorney to learn how the new laws may affect you.