What happens when a court awards the marital home as lump sum alimony and the husband appeals? We find out in the case Gardiner v. Gardiner, 207 So.3d 987 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016).
The parties were married in Sweden and even though the husband filed for divorce in Sweden, the wife filed a petition requesting alimony in Florida. After a trial, the lower court entered an order denying the wife’s request for permanent alimony, finding that while she had a need for it, the husband did not have the ability to pay it.
However, the court awarded the wife the marital home as lump sum alimony finding the wife needed to be compensated for contributions to the husband’s businesses and she would likely be homeless if she was not awarded the property. The husband appealed the order, alleging it was an erroneous award of spousal support or an erroneous unequal distribution of marital assets.
In order to award lump sum alimony, the appellate court cited the fact that Florida law requires the court to first determine whether the award is necessary for support or to effect an equitable distribution of property. Ultimately, because the trial court did not make the findings required to support an unequal distribution of marital assets and debts or an award of lump sum support, the appellate court found the order to be insufficient and reversed it.
Protecting an award of alimony extends all the way to the drafting of the final judgment. An experienced family law attorney can help you by helping the court to make the required findings to support your final judgment.