Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Are parties sometimes dishonest in Florida family law cases? Of course, but it usually does not turn out well for them. Take the case Brunsman v. Brunsman, 232 So.3d 1175 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018) in which the appellate court actually noted, “While we are compelled to reverse portions of the final judgment, we note that many of the issues resulted from Former Husband’s lack of veracity and the parties’ failure to provide the court with the information necessary to make a sound decision.”

The parties were married for 14 years and had one child. At the time of the trial, the former wife was in bankruptcy proceedings because the former husband had not been paying his court-ordered alimony payments. The former husband lost his job but did not resume paying once he became employed again. Therefore, at the time of trial, the former husband owed substantial arrears for alimony and child support.

A final judgment was entered ordering the former husband to pay $500 per month in non-modifiable durational alimony for 5 years and to maintain a $70,000 life insurance policy to secure the alimony. In calculating child support, the trial court used the former husband’s gross income without making findings as to his net income. The former husband filed a motion for rehearing on these issues but the same was denied without a hearing. The former husband’s appeal followed.

The appellate court agreed with the former husband on these issues. First, the court found it was error for the court to make durational alimony non-modifiable absent an agreement between the parties for the same and absent findings of exceptional circumstances. Second, the court found it was error for the trial court to use the parties’ gross incomes to determine alimony and child support, and that their net incomes should have been used to calculate these amounts. Last, as to the insurance requirement, the trial court reversed this ruling, holding, “The record evidence must support the insurance requirement and the trial court must make findings as to the cost of insurance, the amount being required, and any special circumstances justifying the need for a former spouse to maintain the policy.”

While parties sometimes try to “pull one over” on the court, it usually does not turn out well for either party since a lot of unnecessary time and money is spent trying to unravel a complicated web of deceit. If you are facing a similar situation, schedule a consultation with a Miami divorce lawyer to understand your rights and remedies moving forward.