Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, WEST PALM BEACH, WELLINGTON, BOCA RATON561-328-1111

Palm Beach Florida Divorce & Family Law Blog

Alimony in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Imputation for purposes of alimony was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Cura v. Cura. In Cura v. Cura, the Husband filed an appeal challenging an order awarding temporary alimony and child support. After a seventeen year marriage, the husband and wife separated. When the parties separated they were living at the husband's mother's home in Palm Beach County, Florida. The wife obtained her own residence and filed for divorce. She sought an award of temporary alimony and child support. During the course of the marriage, the parties enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. Immediately before the filing for divorce, the parties sold a valuable piece of property. The husband then sold a second piece of property. Finally, the husband took out a large mortgage on a third piece of property. The husband also sold a number of investments.

At a hearing, the Husband was unable to locate the whereabouts of any of the revenues from the aforementioned transactions. The husband claimed that he had no access to funds and was unable to obtain employment. The wife alleged that the Husband continued to enjoy a lavish lifestyle. She also contended that the Husband received gifts from his mother and was voluntarily unemployed.

Alimony

In an alimony case that was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal the Florida Court of Appeal stated that permanent alimony can be awarded to provide for the recipient's needs, as they were established during the course of the marriage, if the recipient lacks the ability to meet his or her financial needs after the parties are divorced. In Weininger v. Weininger the Florida Court of Appeal stated that in a long-term marriage there is a rebuttable presumption that permanent alimony should be awarded. A long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or more. The party that is seeking an award of alimony has the burden to prove the payor's ability to pay and the payee's financial need.

CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION - PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATIONS

In child custody and visitation cases, a parent's request to the trial court to have the other parent psychologically evaluated requires a showing that: (i) the request for the evaluation is related to a matter that is in controversy, and (ii) that there is good cause for the examination.

In a recently decided case captioned Reno v. Reno, the Former Husband filed an Emergency Motion for Mental Examination and Supervised Timesharing pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.360 and rule 12.360. The Florida Court of Appeal stated that the party requesting the examination bears the burden of proof. Seeking custody does not place the other party's mental condition in controversy. The other party's mental condition must directly involve a material element in the case. Allegations of mental illness must be verified by the parent seeking the evaluation, and must show that the parent is having emotional issues that could substantially impact upon his or her ability to parent a child.

Child Custody and Visitation in Wellington, Florida

Child Custody and Visitation in Florida was recently addressed by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Beck v. Lewis. In this case the father appealed the temporary order of the court which created a temporary timesharing schedule for the parents. The trial court granted temporary primary custody of the child to the mother. The Court of Appeal affirmed this temporary order. The temporary order terminated a prior court order that awarded temporary timesharing to the child's grandmother.

The trial court order terminated the grandmother's timesharing, establishing the mother as the primary custodian of the child, and awarding transportation expenses. The order provided for the father to have timesharing with the child one weekend per month, during the summer and during holidays. The father works on weekends as a DJ. The father challenged the trial court's order based upon the fact that the timesharing schedule impairs his ability to earn a living on weekends.

Alimony in Boca Raton, Florida

An alimony issue was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Cooper v. Cooper. In this case the husband appealed a divorce judgment obtained by his wife. The trial court awarded the wife permanent alimony. The Husband contended that the amount of the alimony award was improper. The Florida Court of Appeal agreed. In calculating alimony, the trial court included the husband's total income which consisted of the husband's salary and bonuses. The Florida Court of Appeal ruled that the ability to pay alimony is based on net income, not total income. Therefore, the appellate court reversed the alimony award and remanded the case back to the trial court with directions that the trial curt should issue an award based upon the husband's net income. Additionally, the appellate court directed the trial court to calculate the tax consequences of the support award on the husband's net income. Finally, the Florida Court of Appeal instructed the trial court to determine whether life insurance was required to secure the payment of the alimony award based on the cost of the insurance, its availability and the need for this insurance.

Alimony in Boca Raton, Florida

In awarding alimony, the trial court is required to take into account the payor's living expenses. In a recently decided case before the Florida Court of Appeal captioned Will v. Will, the husband appealed the lower court's award of alimony. The husband challenged the alimony award, because the trial court erred in determining his ability to pay without taking into account his living expenses. The Florida Court of Appeal reversed the lower court's alimony award. The Florida Court of Appeal stated that when a trial court calculates alimony, it is required to take into account the payor's living expenses when determining the payor's ability to pay. In determining a payor's ability to pay, a court must consider the payor's necessary and reasonable living expenses. An award of support must take into account the payor's living expenses. An award of alimony shouldn't substantially endanger a payor's economic status. Since the lower court failed to take into account the husband's living expenses, the Florida Court of Appeal reversed the award and ordered the court to consider the husband's living expenses and his current income in calculating the appropriate alimony award.

Child Custody and Visitation for Same-Sex Couples in Florida

Child Custody and Visitation for Same-Sex Couples in Florida was recently discussed by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Springer v. Springer. In Springer v. Springer a child was born to a biological mother while she was in a same-sex relationship. Her partner asked the Court to recognize a parenting plan that both parties entered into. The parties started their relationship in the State of Ohio. The Biological Mother became pregnant by a donor's sperm. The Former Partner had no biological connection to the child. The parties entered into a timesharing agreement which contained a provision that the parties were to share timesharing and parental responsibility. The parties separated after they moved to Florida. The parties did not marry and the child was not adopted by the Former Partner. The Former Partner sought time-sharing and parental responsibility of the child.

Keeping the Family Home in a Divorce in Palm Beach Gardens, FL

In a recently decided divorce case, the Florida Court of Appeal decided who gets to keep the family home when there is a divorce. In a case captioned Walker v. Walker, the Florida Court of Appeal stated that as a general rule, absent special circumstances, the trial court should award to the primary residential parent exclusive use and possession of the marital home until the youngest child reaches the age of majority or is emancipated, or the primary residential parent remarries. Special circumstances include where the parties' combined incomes are insufficient to meet their normal living expenses, obligations, debts and the cost of maintaining the marital home. Exclusive use and occupancy will not be awarded where the former husband and former wife do not have a sufficient combined income to maintain the marital home and meet their obligations. Florida statutes require courts to assess the desirability of maintaining the marital home as a place for the children to live when it is equitable to do so, it is financially feasible, and it is in the children's best interest. In reaching this decision, divorce courts are to first decide whether it is in the best interest of the children to stay in the marital home, and, if not, whether other equities are served by giving the other spouse exclusive use and possession of the parties' marital home.

Divorce in Florida - Division of a Business

Divorce proceedings in Florida often involve the division of a business that is jointly owned and operated by a husband and wife. In a recently decided case captioned Bowen v. Volz, the lower court divided a business owned by a husband and wife. The trial court awarded each party a fifty percent interest in their business. The Florida Court of Appeal reviewed this decision and began by commenting on the lack of evidence that was presented to the trial court concerning the valuation of the business. The Florida Court of Appeal then reversed the trial court. The Court stated that it is inappropriate to make a husband and wife remain the joint owners of a business after they are divorced. Awarding a former husband and a former wife a shared interest in a business is in effect requiring them to operate their business as partners. This is an intolerable arrangement. The appropriate remedy is for the parties to present a full and complete valuation of the business to the trial court and for the court to then award the asset to one of the parties and create a distribution plan which causes the least disruption to the business and is beneficial and practical for the parties.

Alimony in Palm Beach Gardens

Calculation of alimony was recently discussed by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Reyes v. Fernandez. The court stated that permanent alimony is intended to provide for the needs and the necessities of life of the former spouse, as they were established during the course of their marriage. The two primary factors are the needs of the recipient spouse and the ability of the payor to provide the required funds.

Where a payor is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, a Court may impute income to the payor based upon his or her earning capacity. First, the court must determine that the unemployment or underemployment was voluntary. Second, the court must determine that the party's unemployment or underemployment resulted from the payor's pursuit of his or her own interests or as a result of less than diligent efforts to obtain employment at an income level that is equal to or higher than the income that was formerly received.

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