In a recently decided alimony case, the Florida Court of Appeal stated that permanent alimony is intended to allow the recipient spouse to maintain the standard of living established by the parties during the course of their marriage. In this case, the parties were married for 39 years and had adult children. The parties agreed upon the distribution of their assets, but were unable to agree upon the amount of the wife’s alimony award. The parties agreed that the Wife was to receive ½ of the Husband’s military retirement benefits. The parties both took on debt. During the course of the marriage, the wife worked and raised the parties’ children while the Husband served in the military. The wife was a bartender in the marriage’s early years and was then a realtor. The wife was then in a motorcycle accident and was not working at the time of the trial. The wife was in the process of attempting to obtain disability benefits at the time that the trial took place. At the time of trial, the Husband was retired and was working on a contract basis. The husband also received a disability check.
The trial court found that the wife had a need for alimony and that the husband had the ability to pay. However, the court only awarded the wife a small amount of alimony and failed to describe how it calculated this amount. The Florida Court of Appeal reversed the trial court. The Appellate Court ruled that the amount of an alimony award should allow the recipient spouse to maintain the parties’ standard of living during the course of their marriage. The alimony award must also be consistent with the payor’s ability to pay and the other spouse’s need. The Court of Appeal found that the small alimony award was not supported by the competent substantial evidence.
Additionally, the trial court imputed income to the wife based upon the possibility that the wife might receive disability benefits if her claim was approved. The Appellate Court reversed this ruling, holding that imputed income cannot be based on speculation concerning future events.
To speak with an alimony attorney in Jupiter, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 651-7273.