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Alimony

Petition to modify Florida alimony denied despite former husband's claim of permanent disability

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

When parties enter a marital settlement agreement or a final judgment is entered in a Florida divorce, the court will enforce the express terms of the agreement or order. So it is important that terms in the agreement or order are unambiguous and not open to different interpretations. Otherwise, the parties could find themselves embroiled in expensive and lengthy post-judgment litigation.

Contempt for failure to pay Florida alimony

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

A former spouse who agreed to pay over $20,000.00 per month in permanent, non-modifiable alimony was found in contempt for his failure to pay this amount for about 9 years straight. He appealed in the case Accardi v. Accardi, 4D18-1669 (Fla. 4th DCA June 12, 2019).

Termination of permanent alimony in Florida upon retirement

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

When a party who is ordered to pay alimony retires, he or she may be able to seek a modification or termination of the alimony obligation. This issue was discussed in the case Holder v. Lopez, 1D18-1870 (Fla. 1st DCA June 7, 2019) in which the trial court denied the former husband’s petition to terminate alimony after he retired at age 65.

Florida income deduction order must indicate how arrearage amounts and original obligations are to be treated in relation to the total percentage deducted

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

When a party falls behind on Florida support payments, he or she may be held in contempt of court. When this happens, usually the party is ordered to become current on support payments within a certain amount of time. Additionally, an amended income withholding order may be entered which allows for extra amounts to be taken from the obligor’s paycheck to satisfy any arrearage and/or attorneys’ fees amounts. This is what happened in the recent Florida family law case Moore v. Holton, 2D18-2672 (Fla. 2d DCA April 12, 2019).

Age, good health and current income are not enough to rebut permanent alimony presumption in long-term marriage

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

What is enough to overcome a presumption for permanent alimony in a long-term marriage? An analysis of the factors listed in Florida Statute Chp. 61.08 is what the court must consider in determining how much alimony to award and for how long. In the case Gilliand v. Gilliand, 5D17-4100 (Fla. 5th DCA, March 15, 2019), the former wife appealed the trial court’s decision to award her durational alimony rather than permanent alimony based primarily on her age, good health and work history.

Florida alimony: Imputation of income cannot be based on speculative expert testimony

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

Imputing income to a party for purposes of calculating support is a process which requires specific proof and findings. In the case Frerking v. Stacy, 5D18-2327 (Fla. 5th DCA March 15, 2019), we review a trial court’s decision to award durational, rather than permanent, alimony in a long-term marriage based in part on speculated employment opportunities for the former wife.

Imputation of income in Florida divorce is a 2-step process

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

Imputation of income to a spouse for purposes of determining a Florida alimony and/or child support claim must be supported by competent, substantial evidence. This is illustrated in the recent appellate case Alvarez-Reyes v. Fernandez-Gil, 3D17-2676 (Fla. 3d DCA February 6, 2019).

Florida alimony: Ask and you may receive

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

While it is important to know what you want in your Florida divorce case, it is equally important to know how to ask for it. Your petition for dissolution of marriage in Florida frames the issues in the case and puts the other party on notice regarding what relief you are seeking. Usually, if you do not include something you want in your petition, you cannot get it at trial. The case Lizzmore v. Lizzmore, 1D17-1734 (Fla. 1st DCA, 2019) sheds light on this.

Florida divorce: Ambiguities in marital settlement agreements lead to litigation

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

Time and time again, we see cases in which parties’ marital settlement agreements are not fully clear as to intent. A paragraph about child support, for example, may say something, but when read years later, can cause different interpretations. These different interpretations usually lead to expensive post-judgment litigation as was the case in Quillen v. Quillen, 247 So.3d 40 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018).

Interpreting alimony provisions in a Florida marital settlement agreement

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

There are multiple types of alimony that can be awarded in Florida for a short time, a moderate amount of time or permanently. What type of alimony is awarded in any specific case depends on what the parties agree on, or if the judge will decide alimony, factors such as the length of the marriage, the contributions of both spouses, and primarily the need of the spouse asking for alimony and the ability of the other spouse to pay it. When parties agree on alimony that is recorded in a marital settlement agreement, it is important that the intent of the parties with regard to alimony is accurately reflected in the wording used in the agreement.

Standard for determining a request for Florida alimony pending appeal

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

When either party appeals a final judgment of divorce, can a party seek temporary alimony while an appeal is pending? If so, what standard should be applied to determine if alimony should be awarded under this circumstance? These questions were answered in the appellate case Reidy v. Reidy, 232 So.3d 1053 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018).

When permanent alimony is appropriate in a Florida divorce

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.

Termination of alimony when settlement agreement says payment until death

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

When parties agree to alimony terms in Florida, those terms supersede the Florida Statutes as it relates to payment of spousal support. In the case Inman v. Inman, 2D19-482 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018), a stipulated divorce decree was originally entered which stated the former husband would pay $800 per month to the former wife until the former wife’s death. The former husband sought termination of his alimony obligation, or in the alternative, modification.

Conflict certified regarding alimony awards in Florida

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

What was phrased by the Florida 4th District Court of Appeal as a “a duel between reversible error and preservation” in Fox v. Fox, 4D17-2092 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018) is a study in the nuances of Florida family law. This case revolves around a Florida alimony award and a conflict has been certified regarding the case issues, meaning the Florida Supreme Court may need to decide on rules which conflict among two or more Florida appellate districts.

Florida alimony awards cannot exceed the recipient's need

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

It is well-established that in order for a court to award alimony in Florida, it must be shown that there is a need for it and an ability to pay it. This standard applies even to awards of temporary spousal support as we see in the case Erskine v. Erskine, 1D18-1785 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018).

Florida alimony arrears, a loan and a settlement agreement, oh my!

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

In what sounds like a law school essay exam fact pattern or even a bar exam essay question, the recently published case Greenshields v. Greenshields, 5D18-400 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018) presents an interesting and somewhat complex history between divorced parties with a dispute revolving around a loan and an alimony obligation.

Florida alimony and the doctrine of res judicata

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

A case was just published by the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Florida on November 30, 2018 which explores the concept of res judicata in relation to an alimony claim. Res judicata is Latin for “A matter judged”. It can be thought of as double jeopardy in civil cases - the doctrine of res judicata not only bars a party from re-litigating issues that were raised in a case that proceeded to a final judgment, but it also precludes consideration of issues that could have been raised but were not raised at the time the final judgment was entered. See Portwood v. Portwood, 5D17-2713 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018).

Modification: Maximizing retroactive Florida alimony

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

When you can no longer afford your alimony obligation, or on the other side if you need more alimony than was originally awarded due to a change in circumstances, you may have the option of filing a petition for modification of alimony in Florida. Modification can be retroactive to the date you filed your petition, meaning it will go into effect as of the date you filed your petition even if an order on the petition is entered several months later.