An alimony case was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Baron v. Baron. In Barron v. Barron, the Wife appealed a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage that denied her request for permanent periodic alimony. The parties were married for twenty years. Rather than awarding the former wife permanent support, the trial court awarded her durational alimony for twelve months.
In reaching its decision, the Florida Court of Appeal pointed out that a long-term marriage is a marriage that lasts 17 or more years. Where there is a long-term marriage, there is a rebuttable presumption in favor of awarding permanent support. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a payee with support for a specific period of time, when there is a long term marriage and there is no need for ongoing support on a permanent basis.
In the alimony case at bar, the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage failed to provide an explanation as to why permanent support was inappropriate. The Florida Court of Appeal ruled that it is an abuse of the trial court’s discretion not to award permanent alimony for this long-term marriage, absent a finding that the presumption favoring permanent periodic alimony was overcome by substantial competent evidence.
The trial court’s ruling did not rebut the presumption that the wife was entitled to receive permanent support. Because this presumption was not rebutted, the trial court erred in awarding durational alimony instead of permanent alimony. Therefore, the trial court’s ruling was reversed and remanded to the trial court to determine the appropriate amount of permanent periodic alimony.