An alimony case captioned Dills v. Perez was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal. In this case, the former wife appealed the ruling of the lower court. The former husband and the former wife were divorced. As part of their dissolution of marriage proceedings, the former husband and the former wife entered into a marital settlement agreement. The parties’ marital settlement agreement required the former husband to pay durational alimony to the former wife for forty-eight (48) months. Additionally, the parties’ marital settlement agreement contained a provision that stated that the former husband’s obligation to pay durational alimony to the former wife was non-modifiable. Although the parties’ marital settlement agreement contained a provision that the former husband’s alimony obligation would not terminate upon the former husband’s death, it did not specifically discuss the effect that remarriage would have on the former husband’s durational alimony obligation.
The former wife remarried prior to the expiration of the forty-eight (48) month period. The former husband filed a notice of termination of durational alimony. The former wife filed a motion in which she sought to have the husband held in contempt of court and sought compliance with the terms of the marital settlement agreement. This post judgment matter was heard by a general magistrate. The general magistrate ruled that the former wife’s remarriage entitled the former husband to stop making alimony payments to the former wife. The general magistrate reasoned that the former husband’s alimony obligation should terminate upon the former wife’s remarriage because the parties’ marital settlement agreement did not expressly provide for termination of the former husband’s alimony obligation upon remarriage.
The general magistrate’s ruling was appealed to the trial court. The trial court approve the recommendation of the general magistrate and terminated the former husband’s alimony obligation.