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

Palm Beach Florida Divorce & Family Law Blog

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.

Alimony in Boca Raton, Florida - Imputation of Income

Imputation of alimony was recently discussed by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Frerking v. Stacy. In this case, the former wife appealed a trial court's decision that denied her request for permanent alimony and imputed income to her. The parties were married for nineteen years. The Florida Court of appeal pointed out that permanent alimony is intended to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the course of the marriage. Permanent alimony is presumed to be appropriate after a long-term marriage. A marriage that lasts seventeen years or more is considered to be a long-term marriage. A trial court errs when it fails to award permanent alimony where there has been a long-term marriage, unless the presumption favoring this award is overcome by competent substantial evidence.

Modification of Alimony in Palm Beach County, Florida

Modification of Alimony was recently discussed by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Inman v. Inman. In this case the former husband sought appellate review of a trial court order denying his supplemental petition for modification of alimony. The former husband sought to terminate his alimony obligation based upon the remarriage of his former wife. He also sought modification based on the parties change in financial circumstances. The Florida Court of Appeal reversed the trial court based on its inappropriate application of the standard to modify alimony awards.

The parties divorce decree provided that the former husband was to make payments to the former wife for the remainder of her life. The former husband sought termination of his alimony obligation based upon Florida Statute Section 61.08(8), which provides that an award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. The Florida Court of Appeal ruled that if the parties enter into a marital settlement agreement that provides that alimony shall continue despite the remarriage of the recipient spouse, then this agreement is valid and binding and supersedes the provisions contained in Florida Statute Section 61.08(8).

Modification of Alimony in Boca Raton, Florida

Modification of Alimony should be granted retroactively to the date the petition was filed if the reasons justifying modification existed at that time. In a case captioned Nuttle v. Nuttle the former husband appealed a final judgment modifying his alimony obligation. The Florida Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's decision and remanded the case back to the trial court to correctly modify the former husband's alimony. In 2015, the parties entered into a marital settlement agreement under which the former husband agreed to pay his former wife durational alimony. Before the trial court signed the final judgment, the former husband filed a supplemental petition for modification of alimony based on the fact that the former husband was notified by his employer that he was going to be terminated from his employment. Eleven months after the parties entered into the marital settlement agreement, the trial court entered a final judgment that incorporated the terms of the marital settlement agreement and reserved jurisdiction to hear the former husband's modification of alimony. The former husband then filed an amended supplemental petition for modification of alimony.

Child Custody and Visitation in Boca Raton, Florida

A Child Custody and Visitation case involving emergency intervention by the Court was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned McAbee v. McAbee. In this case the parents married in South Carolina and divorced in Virginia. They have one child. The mother alleged that the father sexually abused the child in Virginia and in Florida. The father admitted to sexually abusing the child in letters that he sent to the mother. The father also documented to having a sex addiction. The father later denied the sexual abuse and claimed that the sex addiction was a reaction to taking certain medication. The mother filed for custody in Virginia and a psychologist stated that the father was no threat to the child. The father moved to Florida and filed for divorce in Virginia. The mother also moved to Florida. The Virginia court granted the father supervised time-sharing. The mother petitioned for relief in Florida and the case was dismissed. Later on, the Virginia court gave the father graduated timesharing. The mother filed more petitions in Florida and the Florida court denied her petitions. The mother moved to South Carolina with the child. The Virginia court then awarded the father sole custody. The mother sought a protective order in South Carolina, which was denied. The mother then filed an action in Broward County, Florida. The Broward County judge found that the child had been abused. The court issued an injunction and ordered the child to have no contact with the father.

Child Relocation in Boca Raton, Florida

A Child Relocation case was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Castleman v. Bicaldo. In this case, the mother emigrated from the Philippines to the United States in order to marry the Father. As a result of the marriage, she was able to obtain a Green Card. After 26 months of marriage, the Father filed for divorce. The trial judge issued a Final Judgment in which the Court ruled that if Wife's citizenship application was denied, she would be allowed to move to the Philippines with her child. The trial court found that the relocation statute did not apply to persons who are deported. The Court of Appeals reversed this judgment.

The Court of Appeal held that the Florida Parental Relocation Statute applies to persons wishing to relocate voluntarily as well as to those who are forced to relocate by the government after their marital status is changed. The Florida Child Relocation Statute contains ten specific factors that trial courts are required to apply in making determinations regarding child custody relocation. These ten factors are to be applied in cases involving involuntary as well as voluntary relocations.

Child Custody and Visitation - Private School for Children

A Child Custody and Visitation case involving private schooling was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal. The father sought to enroll the children in a private Christian school. The final judgment of dissolution of marriage awarded the parents shared parental responsibility for the children. In 2017, the children attended public school at Palmetto Middle School and Palmetto Elementary School. The parents could not agree on which middle school the children should attend. The mother preferred Palmetto Middle School and the father wanted the children to attend a private Christian school. The father stated that he was willing to pay for the cost for the children to attend the private school.

The mother filed a motion for contempt of court against the father for taking one of the children to be tested to determine his eligibility to attend the private school. The father filed a motion in which he requested that court order the children to attend private school. The father alleged that the mother refused to even discuss the children's enrollment in the private school. The father argued that the private school was in the children's best interests and that it was a better fit for the children. The trial court ruled in favor of the father and permitted the children to attend private school. The court required the mother to cooperate with its decision and denied the mother's motion for contempt.

Modification of Child Custody and Visitation in Palm Beach County, Florida

A Modification of Child Custody and Visitation case was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal. In a case captioned Puhl v. Puhl the Florida Court of Appeal held that the failure to keep other parent informed of issues concerning a child was an insufficient basis, in and of itself, to modify the parties' timesharing schedule. In Puhl v. Puhl the trial court entered a Final Judgment of Dissolution which incorporated the parties agreed upon parenting plan. The parenting plan provided for shared parental responsibility and also provided that if the parties were unable to agree upon the child's healthcare, education or religious upbringing, the mother's decision would prevail. A year after the divorce was granted, the Father moved to modify the parties' parenting plan. The Father alleged that the Mother was deciding healthcare issues pertaining to the child without consulting him and that the child was receiving unnecessary medical treatment.

Residency Requirements to Obtain a Divorce in Florida

To obtain a divorce in Florida, either the Husband or the Wife must reside in Florida for six (6) months prior to the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. A court does not have jurisdiction to decide a divorce case unless jurisdiction is appropriately allege in the Petition for Dissolution and proved at the Final Hearing.

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