A durational alimony case was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Johnson v. Johnson. In this case, the husband and wife were married in 2006. They have two children. The husband worked in retail, and the wife was an auditor. The wife’s income substantially exceeded the Husband’s. In 2011, the husband stopped working in order to raise the children. In 2017, the husband returned to work. In the divorce proceeding, the Husband sought alimony from the wife. The lower court awarded durational alimony to the husband for a period of sixty months.
The wife appealed the trial court’s ruling. The Florida Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s decision. The appellate court pointed out that the purpose of durational alimony is to provide funds for a set period of time. In awarding alimony, a trial judge is required to first make a determination as to the recipient’s need and the payor’s ability to pay. Once the court determines need and ability to pay, the trial court is to consider the following factors: (i) the parties’ standard of living during the course of the marriage; (ii) the length of the marriage; (iii) the parties’ ages and physical and emotional condition; (iv) each party’s financial resources; (v) the parties’ earning capacities; (vi) the parties’ contribution to the marriage; (vii) the responsibilities for parenting that each party will have after the divorce; (viii) the tax consequences of the award; (ix) income available to each of the parties from all sources; and (x) any other factor that the court deems just.
In awarding alimony, a trial court should follow a four-step procedure in which it decides: (a) a recipient’s need for support; (b) a payor’s ability to pay; (c) the appropriate type of alimony; and (d) the amount to be awarded. In the case at bar, the Florida Court of Appeal held that the trial court’s ruling was not grounded in competent, substantial evidence. Accordingly, the appellate court reversed the decision of the trial court.