Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A.
Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach And Wellington, Florida Offices 561-328-1095

Alimony Archives

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.

Adultery in Alimony Cases in Florida

In making an alimony award, adultery and infidelity can only be considered by the trial judge when the adulterous conduct involves the dissipation of marital assets. In a case captioned Keyser v. Keyser, the parties were married for twenty-years. This is considered a long term marriage. When there is a long term marriage, there is an initial presumption that an award of permanent alimony is appropriate. It was also alleged in Keyser v. Keyser that one of the spouses engaged in marital infidelity. 

Alimony Attorney in Wellington, Florida

In calculating alimony, income will be imputed to the owner of non-income producing assets. In a case captioned Sherlock v. Sherlock, the husband appealed the final judgment dissolving the parties' marriage. The parties were married for seventeen years. A seventeen year marriage is rebuttably presumed to be a long-term marriage. The husband was awarded non-income producing assets. These assets were comprised of financial accounts and real estate.

Florida Alimony Reform 2016

The Florida Alimony Reform Bill was passed by the Florida Legislature on March 8, 2016. It was vetoed by Governor Scott on April 15, 2016.  Under the Alimony Reform Bill, significant changes were made to the ability to make a modification of alimony. The court is permitted to terminate or modify the amount of a support award, however, a court may not modify the duration of the award. When the parties enter into a marital settlement agreement which requires the payment of alimony, or when a payor is required by a court order to make alimony payments, and the financial ability of either of the parties changes, either party can apply to the court for an order increasing or decreasing the amount of support. The court may then order a modificationif if the court finds that it is fair, in light of the change in circumstances or the parties' financial ability. A court may not increase or decrease the duration of the payments provided for in the court order or in the agreement.

Florida Alimony Reform Bill 2016

Florida Alimony reform legislation was recently passed by the Florida Legislature on March 8, 2016. It was vetoed by Governor Scott on April 15, 2016.  The Florida Alimony Reform bill created alimony guidelines. Under these alimony guidelines the court was required to calculate a presumptive alimony amount and a presumptive alimony duration.

Alimony in Wellington, Florida

In an alimony case, there is a rebuttable presumption that a seventeen-year marriage is a long-term marriage and that an award of permanent alimony should be made. If the trial court does not award permanent alimony, the trial court must make findings as to why this rebuttable presumption should not apply. In Quinones v. Quinones the Florida Court of Appeal recently had a case before it in which the wife appealed a judgment awarding a dissolution of marriage from her husband. The wife argued that the lower court mistakenly found that her marriage to her husband was a moderate term marriage. The wife also argued that she should have received an award of permanent alimony. The Florida Court of Appeal agreed with the wife and reversed the lower court's ruling. The parties were married in 1992. The husband filed a petition for dissolution of marriage after the parties had been married for seventeen years. By the time that the case was tried the parties were married for 23 years. Three weeks before the trial was held, the husband lost his part-time job and was in the process of transitioning to new full-time job. The trial court ruled that the wife should not receive alimony due to the fact that the marriage was a moderate term marriage and the financial circumstances of the parties.

Alimony in Wellington, Florida

In calculating alimony, income received by the alimony recipient from retirement accounts (such as 401ks) is considered in determining the alimony recipient's need where principal in these retirement accounts will not be invaded for purposes of support. In a case captioned Stoltzfus v. Stoltzfus, the Florida Court of Appeal recently had before it a case in which the husband challenged the trial court's award of alimony. The husband's challenge was based upon the amount of alimony that the trial court awarded to his wife. The wife also cross-appealed based upon the amount of alimony that she was awarded. The husband alleged that the lower court failed to take into account income that the wife received from her retirement accounts in determining the wife's need for alimony. The husband pointed out that the wife received income from two 40 IK accounts that wife received as part of the equitable distribution of the parties' assets. The trial court had found that the 40 IKs were generating income , but found that the wife was not be able to receive that income until she was sixty-five.

Alimony - Imputation of Income in Palm Beach County, Florida

In awarding alimony income can be imputed to an unemployed or underemployed spouse under certain circumstances. Florida Statutes § 61.30(2)(b), Florida Statutes, states that monthly income can be imputed to an unemployed or underemployed spouse if that spouse's unemployment or underemployment is voluntary. In a case captioned Dottaviano v. Dottaviano, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated that the trial court is required to utilize a two-step analysis in deciding whether or not to impute income to an underemployed or unemployed spouse. First, the court should determine whether the spouse's termination of employment was voluntary. Second, the trial court should decide whether the former spouse' s subsequent unemployment or under­employment was the result of the former spouse's pursuit of his or her own interests or the result of a less than diligent efforts to find a job that pays income at a level equal to or better than that formerly re­ceived.

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