Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony
Can a Florida divorce court require a spouse who pays alimony to have his or her estate continue paying the alimony after the payor's death? This issue was explored in the case Kurtanovic v. Kurtanovic, 1D17-202 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018) in which the former husband appealed several issues, including the court's order for his estate to continue paying alimony after his death.
The former husband appealed several issues in his Florida divorce, four of which he was successful in appealing: (1) the requirement that he obtain life insurance to secure his alimony obligation; (2) a lump sum equitable distribution payment to the wife; (3) payment of alimony after his death; and (4) an award of attorneys' fees and costs to the wife.
As to the life insurance, the appellate court found it was error for the trial court to order the former husband to obtain life insurance when the former wife did not request it in her pleadings and he was therefore not given notice of the need to prepare a defense against this issue. Due process requires that a party be put on notice of the claims made by the opposing party.
With regard to the lump sum payment to be paid to the former wife, the appellate court held, "The trial court made no findings with regards to the former husband's ability to pay a lump-sum equalizing payment. Because there is no indication in the record that the former husband had the ability to make a lump-sum payment within the time frame set by the trial court, we reverse." The appellate court further held that requiring the former husband's estate to pay alimony after his death was improper where the law generally provides that alimony terminates upon the death of the payor, absent an agreement between the parties to the contrary.
Last, the award of attorneys' fees and costs to the former wife was found to be an abuse of discretion where the parties' financial positions were generally equal after equitable distribution and payment of alimony. Having a Miami divorce lawyer on your side may help you optimize the outcome of your Florida divorce case. Schedule a consultation today to go over your best options.