In awarding alimony, income from property being distributed should be used in determining need and ability to pay. In Hodge v. Hodge, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: “The Amended Final Judgment does not indicate that the trial court’s calculation of the Appellee’s income included any investment income attributable to the assets divided in the equitable distribution scheme….
Failing to attribute the income from property being distributed to that party when determining need and ability to pay is reversible error. See Acker v. Acker, 904 So. 2d 384, 386-87 (Fla. 2005). The supreme court held that section 61.08(2), Florida Statutes, requires a trial court to consider all sources of income-including equitably-distributed assets-when determining alimony awards. Id. at 388-89 (citing Lauro v. Lauro, 757 So. 2d 523, 524-25 (Fla. 4th DCA2000)). In the present case, the trial court failed to consider how the equitable distribution scheme disposed of income-earning assets. Appellant argued below that the parties’ incomes after equitable distribution were significantly different than the estimates employed by the lower court’s award…In the Amended Final Judgment…The lower court also failed to include equitably-distributed property in its estimate of Appellee’s income. After reviewing the Amended Final Judgment, we conclude that the lower court’s conclusions are not based on competent, substantial evidence…In light of Acker, both parties’ income estimates must be revised to reflect the equitable distribution of income-earning assets. We reverse the lower court’s findings with regard to the calculation of both parties’ income and remand for a determination of an appropriate alimony award.”
To speak with a North Palm Beach Beach, Florida, divorce attorney about alimony, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 651-7273.