In Florida, permanent alimony is rebuttably presumed to be appropriate in a marriage that exceeds seventeen years. In a case captioned Hedden v. Hedden, the wife appealed a judgment terminating her marriage of thirty-seven years. The parties have two children. The wife was a stay-at-home mother for a majority of the marriage. The wife was last employed twelve years prior to date of the trial. The wife also had a medical condition. The trial court found that the wife had a need for support and that the husband had the ability to pay. The trial court awarded the Wife both permanent and durational alimony. The durational alimony was scheduled to end when the wife reached age 62. At age 62, the wife was eligible to receive Social Security benefits.
The Florida Court of Appeal reversed the trial court for two reasons. First, the Court of Appeal held that, in Florida, permanent alimony is rebuttably presumed to be appropriate when there is a long-term marriage. A long-term marriage is defined as a marriage that exceeds seventeen years. Permanent support is appropriate where no other type of support would be fair and reasonable. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide the recipient with alimony for a set period of time when there is not an ongoing need for support. A court should not award durational alimony where there is a need for ongoing support. Where a recipient has an ongoing need for support, durational alimony is inappropriate and permanent alimony is the appropriate remedy. Additionally, an award of support should not be based upon a predicted increase in the recipient’s income. This award is to be based upon the present circumstances of the parties. The court may always modify a support award should the parties’ circumstances change in the future.
To speak with an alimony attorney in Palm Beach Gardens , Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.