Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

A Florida divorce court can order a party to secure an alimony award with life insurance. However, specific findings must be made. In the case Will v. Will, 2D18-539 (Fla. 2d DCA June 28, 2019), the former husband appealed, among other issues, a requirement that he obtain life insurance to secure his alimony obligation.

The former husband also took issue with the court’s equitable distribution determination and the award of alimony. With regard to alimony, the former husband argued the trial court did not take into account his monthly living expenses and only focused on his income. He also took issue with the trial court’s decision to credit $10,000 to him in equitable distribution, funds which were used to take the parties’ daughter on a vacation.

As to the alimony argument, the appellate court agreed with the former husband, holding “In calculating the appropriate amount of alimony, the trial court is obligated to consider the former husband's living expenses when determining his ability to pay. [. . .] Here, the trial court failed to address the former husband's living expenses in the amended final judgment. Therefore, we reverse the award of alimony and remand for the trial court to reconsider the award taking into account the former husband's living expenses as well as his current income. Any award of alimony shall be supported by specific findings as required by section 61.08, Florida Statutes (2018).”

Moving on to the equitable distribution issue, the appellate court also sided with the former husband, holding “Before a trial court can include a marital asset that was dissipated during the dissolution proceedings in the equitable distribution scheme, the trial court must make a specific finding that a party engaged in intentional misconduct that resulted in the dissipation of the asset. [. . .] Here, the trial court made no such finding—and the facts it did find would not have supported such a finding. Accordingly, we reverse the equitable distribution award and remand for the trial court to reconsider the award without including the $10,000 spent on the rafting trip.”

Last, although he filed a motion for rehearing, and the trial court entered an order with findings supporting its determination that the former husband should obtain a life insurance policy to support the alimony award, the appellate court held these findings to be inadequate. As the appellate court stated, “However, in order to support such a requirement, the trial court must make specific findings concerning the party's insurability, the cost of the proposed insurance, the ability to afford the insurance, and the special circumstances that warrant such security. The trial court did not make any of these findings.”

Florida divorce courts sometimes make mistakes, so it is important to have a Miami family law attorney assisting you with your case from the beginning. Doing so may best help you preserve your right to appeal any adverse court orders against you. Schedule a consultation to get started.