Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

A common issue in many Miami divorce cases deals with calculating alimony when a spouse is underemployed or unemployed. This issue was on appeal in the case Dottaviano v. Dottaviano, 219 So.3d 990 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017) where the wife objected to the court imputing income to her and rejecting some of her monthly expenses. 

This was the second time this case was on appeal. In the first appeal, the appellate court instructed the trial court to revise the way it imputed income to the wife for purposes of calculating support. The trial court then revised its imputation of income, but the wife claimed error in this imputation as well and appealed again. 

On this second appeal, the wife argued the trial court did not use the correct standard in imputing income to her; specifically, she argued that it did not base the imputation on competent, substantial evidence of her income and employment records for the previous five years. The appellate court agreed with her and remanded to the trial court to impute zero income to the wife based on her work history.

Additionally, the appellate court found there was an error in the way the trial court examined the wife's need for alimony - the appellate court apparently refused to recognize the wife's expenses such as her monthly entertainment expense, but gave the husband credit for this expense in computing his ability to pay support. The trial court was instructed to re-examine the wife's need and if it was still inclined to deny those expenses, to justify the denial. 

It is sometimes easy to get lost in the nuances of Florida family law. That is why it helps to have a Miami divorce lawyer guiding you. A consultation may help you start on the right path.