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Palm Beach Florida Divorce & Family Law Blog

The Requirement to Purchase Life Insurance to Secure Alimony Awards in Florida

As part of an alimony obligation, a payor may be required to purchase life insurance to secure the award. In a recently decided case captioned Sager v. Sager the former husband appealed the final judgment. He argued that the trial court erred in requiring him to purchase life insurance to secure his alimony obligation. Husband and wife were married in 1982, and the former husband filed for divorce in 2016. Former husband was a mortgage broker and former wife was a teacher. The parties lived in the State of New Jersey for a large part of their marriage. The parties moved to the State of Florida and bought two houses. They used one as the marital home and used the other as a rental property. The former husband was 72 years old, and was retired. The former wife was 66 years of age. She did not have a college degree and was an early childhood teacher. She was also a substitute teacher in the summer. The trial court required the former husband to purchase a $250,000 life insurance policy to secure his alimony obligation to the former wife. The former husband appealed from the judgment requiring him to purchase the life insurance policy.

Modification of Child Custody and Visitation

Modification of Child Custody and Visitation was recently discussed by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Ezra v. Ezra. In this case the father challenged the decision of the trial court granting the mother exclusive decision-making responsibility for the children's medical and educational needs. In this case, the parents married in 2004. They had two children. They separated the day after their 6th wedding anniversary. The mother alleged abuse by the father during the course of the marriage, as well as extreme disciplinary conduct toward the children. In 2011, the lower court ratified an agreed parenting plan which granted the parties shared parental responsibility for the healthcare and education needs of the children.

Subsequent to the entry of the final judgment, the father's financial situation deteriorated. The father's child support payments diminished. The children were historically enrolled in a private religious school. Due to the diminution of the father's income, the mother sought financial aid for the children. The father allegedly impeded the mother's efforts to obtain financial aid for the children. Additionally, the father allegedly interfered with medical treatment for one of the children. The mother sought modification of parental responsibility. The trial court granted the mother's request for unilateral decision-making authority for the children's healthcare and educational needs.

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.

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