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Palm Beach Florida Divorce & Family Law Blog

Child Relocation in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

In a recently decided child relocation case, the parties had two minor children. The Wife wanted to relocate to Virginia with the children. The Husband opposed the relocation. The parties lived in Virginia for many years prior to moving to Florida. After the parties lived in Florida for two years, the wife filed a petition for divorce. The wife requested that the trial court permit her to relocate with the children because she believed that the relocation would be in the children's best interest. Additionally, she argued that the relocation would eliminate her need to constantly travel for work.

Alimony Attorney in Wellington, Florida

In a recently decided alimony case captioned Barlow v. Barlow, the Florida Court of Appeal ruled that a trial court should utilize the most recent income figures available in calculating alimony and child support and not rely on past earnings. In this case the Husband appealed the trial court's ruling concerning the calculation of alimony and child support and the division of marital assets. The Court of Appeal ruled that the lower court made a mistake in calculating the Husband's bonus income. The Court reversed the lower court's ruling and required the trial court to retry the case.

The Husband and Wife agreed on the amount of the Husband's base salary at the time of the divorce in 2015. In calculating the Husband's income, the trial court utilized the Husband's bonus in 2013, rather than utilizing the Husband's bonus in 2014. The Florida alimony statute requires courts to take into consideration all sources of income available to both parties in awarding alimony. The Florida child support statute requires courts to include bonus income in calculating child support.

Paternity Cases in West Palm Beach, Florida

In paternity unwed/unmarried parents cases, gifts from the paying party's family members and gifts from the paying party's boyfriends and girlfriend may be included in calculating the paying party's income. In a recently decided case captioned Wood v. Wood, the father started working for a company owned by his girlfriend. In his financial affidavit the father listed his monthly income. The trial court found that the father earned a salary from the father's employment, but also believed that another source was paying the father's expenses. The trial court imputed additional income to the father from his family and from  his girlfriend. When the case was presented to the Florida Court of Appeal, the father argued that the trial court misunderstood his financial circumstances and argued that the trial court's ruling was erroneous. The Court of Appeal agreed with the father and found that the trial court's ruling was based on speculation. The Florida Court of Appeal and reversed the lower court's ruling.

Modification of Alimony in Palm Beach Gardens

In a modification of alimony case, a payor's alimony obligation can be reduced when the recipient voluntarily reduces their needs. In a recently decided case captioned Regan v. Regan, the trial court granted the Husband's petition for modification.  The trial court permitted a reduction of the Husband's alimony obligation from $9,000 per month to $7,800 a month. When the parties were divorced, they agreed that the Husband would pay $9,000 per month. The wife also received retirement accounts and investment accounts as part of the settlement. After the divorce, the wife significantly reduced her expenses by moving to another state, selling the marital house, and purchasing a smaller home. The trial court found that these reductions constituted a substantial change of circumstances and warranted a modification of alimony.

Alimony in Jupiter, Florida

In a recently decided alimony case, the Florida Court of Appeal stated that permanent alimony is intended to allow the recipient spouse to maintain the standard of living established by the parties during the course of their marriage. In this case, the parties were married for 39 years and had adult children. The parties agreed upon the distribution of their assets, but were unable to agree upon the amount of the wife's alimony award. The parties agreed that the Wife was to receive ½ of the Husband's military retirement benefits. The parties both took on debt. During the course of the marriage, the wife worked and raised the parties' children while the Husband served in the military. The wife was a bartender in the marriage's early years and was then a realtor. The wife was then in a motorcycle accident and was not working at the time of the trial. The wife was in the process of attempting to obtain disability benefits at the time that the trial took place. At the time of trial, the Husband was retired and was working on a contract basis. The husband also received a disability check.

Alimony in Wellington and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

In a recently decided alimony case captioned Jimenez v. Jimenez, the Florida Court of Appeal stated that in reaching a decision concerning alimony, a trial court is required to consider every one of the factors set forth in the Florida Statutes. In deciding whether or not to award alimony, a trial court is required to decide whether one of the parties has the ability to pay alimony and whether the other party has the need for alimony. If a court determines that one party has the ability to pay alimony and that the other party has the need for alimony, the court is required to consider all of the following ten factors. First, the standard of living established by the parties during the marriage. Second, the length of the marriage. Third, the physical and emotional condition of each of the parties and the age of the parties. Fourth, each parties assets and liabilities. Fifth, the parties' earning capacities and the need for additional training and education. Sixth, each of the parties' contribution to the marriage. Seventh, the need to stay home with any minor children. Eighth, the tax consequences of an award of alimony. Ninth, each parties' sources of income from employment or investments. Tenth, any other factor that the court considers is necessary to reach a fair and just resolution of the matter.

Alimony in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

In a recently decided alimony case captioned Jimenez v. Jimenez, the Florida Court of Appeal stated that in reaching a decision concerning alimony, a trial court is required to consider every one of the factors set forth in the Florida Statutes. In deciding whether or not to award alimony, a trial court is required to decide whether one of the parties has the ability to pay alimony and whether the other party has the need for alimony. If a court determines that one party has the ability to pay alimony and that the other party has the need for alimony, the court is required to consider all of the following ten factors. First, the standard of living established by the parties during the marriage. Second, the length of the marriage. Third, the physical and emotional condition of each of the parties and the age of the parties. Fourth, each parties assets and liabilities. Fifth, the parties' earning capacities and the need for additional training and education. Sixth, each of the parties' contribution to the marriage. Seventh, the need to stay home with any minor children. Eighth, the tax consequences of an award of alimony. Ninth, each parties' sources of income from employment or investments. Tenth, any other factor that the court considers is necessary to reach a fair and just resolution of the matter.

Division of Property and Assets in Florida

In a recent division of property and assets case, captioned Gotro v. Gotro the Florida Court of Appeal held that a trial court should not include expended assets in an equitable distribution scheme unless these assets were dissipated as a result of one of the parties' misconduct. In this case, the parties had a 39 year marriage and had 4 adult children. The husband was the primary breadwinner. The husband had a number of bank accounts which were marital assets. The significant bank accounts, for purposes of this appeal, were two accounts at BBVA Compass Bank. By the time that the final hearing took place, the balances in these two bank accounts was significantly lower than they had been at the time of the filing of the divorce. The husband testified that he had used the money in these accounts for his living expenses. The husband requested that the trial court distribute these accounts based upon their value at the time of the final hearing and not as of the date of the filing of the dissolution of marriage. In fashioning its final judgment, the trial court used the values in the accounts as of the date of the filing of the divorce.

Alimony - Palimony, Same-Sex Divorce & Support Agreements

A same-sex divorce case involving alimony, palimony and an oral cohabitation agreement was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal. The case was captioned Armao v. McKenney. During the course of the parties' relationship, the parties entered into an oral cohabitation agreement. The parties agreed that they would live together, work together, take care of each other emotionally and financially, provide for each other, and be a couple. They characterized their relationship as being: "just like a married couple." They combined their assets, investments, income, and inheritances. They participated in a blessing ceremony. They held themselves out as a couple during their 46 year relationship.

The Defendant earned approximately $500,000.00 during the course of the relationship. He gave all his paychecks to the Plaintiff. The Defendant owned a home before the parties met. When the Defendant sold his home, he gave the proceeds to the Plaintiff. When the Defendant's mother died, he gave his inheritance to the Plaintiff. In the Counterclaim, the Defendant sought half of the balances in all of the accounts held by the Plaintiff, representing one half of the parties' combined assets.

Alimony in Jupiter, Florida

In a recently decided alimony case captioned Hua v. Tsung, the husband filed an action for divorce. The parties were married for 17½ years. The Husband and wife were in their early forties. The Husband was the primary breadwinner and wife was a homemaker and stay-at-home mother. The Husband owned several businesses during the marriage. The Husband owned part of a restaurant. The Husband also allegedly owned shares in a company named DSC Holdings Limited. At the time of the divorce, the husband lived with a new girlfriend and their two minor children in Brazil. The Wife lived in Broward County, Florida, and took care of the parties' minor children. During the marriage, the wife and the husband received generous gifts from the husband's parents. The husband's father bought them a home in California. When the parties moved to Florida, the Husband's parents bought them a home in Broward County. The Broward County home was valued between $650,000 to $700,000. The parties also bought a rental property. The parties' comfortable lifestyle was due in large part to the Husband's father. The wife earned no income.

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