Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce
Mistakes can happen in a Florida divorce which is why it is important to know the rules and to be vigilant in appealing. In the recent appellate case Julia v. Julia, 4D17-2261 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019), a litany of issues were appealed by the former husband which he argued were major mistakes made in his divorce case. He ended up prevailing on many of the issues.
The parties’ case involved alimony, child support and equitable distribution. On all of these issues, the former husband appealed the trial court’s ruling. First, with regard to alimony, the trial court awarded permanent alimony to the former wife without making the required finding that no other form of alimony was fair or reasonable under the circumstances. Although the appellate court acknowledged the trial court’s decision to award permanent alimony may very well stay the same after making this finding, the law requires that the finding be made in the final judgment. So, the case was remanded for the trial court to make this finding. Additionally, the appellate court found it was error for the trial court to use the former husband’s gross income to calculate alimony rather than his net income.
As to child support, two issues arose. The trial court’s child support calculation indicated the income ratio between the parents was 60% versus 40%. However, inexplicably, the trial court made the former husband responsible for 80% of the children’s uncovered medical expenses and extracurricular activities. The appellate court reversed, holding “The trial court did not provide a ‘logically established rationale’ for the disparity in the allocations. Without any "logically established rationale" for the disparity in the allocations, that portion of the post-judgment order was error.” Next, as to retroactive child support, the appellate court found it was error for the trial court to fail to consider mortgage payments the former husband made during the retroactive period. In reversing the trial court’s order on retroactive child support, the appellate court cited case law which states “When one party pays the mortgage payment or housing expenses of another party, it is considered an in kind contribution for purposes of the child support guidelines.”
Last, as to equitable distribution, the former husband argued it was error for the trial court to award the former wife one-half of the portion of his pension which accrued before the parties’ second marriage to each other. Therefore, this ruling was reversed with instructions for the trial court to calculate and distribute only the marital portion of the pension.
This case shows us the importance of being alert and aware of errors that may happen in a Florida divorce case. Appealing these errors on time and making sure you preserve your right to appeal are important. Contact a Miami family law attorney to go over your rights and remedies in a consultation today.