Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

When is permanent alimony awarded in a Florida divorce? Per the Florida Statutes, it is awarded in long term marriages (defined as 17 years or longer) when no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable given the circumstances of the parties. In Griffitts v. Griffitts, 5D17-2509 (Fla. 5th DCA 2019), we see a reversal of a trial court’s decision to deny permanent alimony in a long term marriage.

This case involved a long-term marriage in which the former wife sacrificed a career to be the primary caretaker for the parties’ four children. Despite this, the trial court found the former wife was only entitled to three years of alimony at $1,800 per month. The trial court reasoned that based on the assets awarded to the former wife in equitable distribution, she did not have a need for permanent alimony. The former wife received more than half of the marital estate in equitable distribution, and the trial court considered an investment made by the former wife’s parents that would allow her to live mortgage-free.

The appellate court reversed this decision, holding, “While these factors support the trial court's decision not to award a greater monthly alimony amount, they fall far short of justifying its decision to deny an award of permanent periodic alimony. Here, even assuming Former Wife earns the income imputed to her by the trial court, the evidence reflects that Former Wife will still have the need for periodic alimony beyond three years. On remand, the trial court shall enter an amended final judgment that classifies Former Husband's $1800/month alimony obligation as permanent periodic, not durational.”

Alimony can be a lifeline for a spouse transitioning from years of financial reliance on a spouse. To give yourself the best chance of having a fair alimony amount determined in your Miami divorce case, contact a Florida divorce lawyer. A consultation can help you understand the merits of your case.