In a recently decided alimony case captioned Ritacco v. Ritacco, the Husband and Wife were married for more than twenty-two years. The Husband was the sole income provider during the marriage. The Wife raised the parties’ daughters, and did not work outside of the home. The Husband receives a salary, a pension, and owns a DROP account. The Florida Court of Appeal decided four alimony issues.
First, the appellate court pointed out that there is a rebuttable presumption that the trial court should award permanent alimony when there is a long term marriage. A long-term marriage is a marriage that exceeds seventeen years.
Second, the Court of Appeal recognized that a trial court should impute income that can reasonably be received from a party’s liquid assets. Where a party receives an award of equitable distribution that will result in immediate income, this income will be included in making an alimony calculation. However, in the case at bar, the amount of income was so small that the court declined to impute it as income.
Third, the Florida Court of Appeal ruled that the Husband’s employee benefits, including his vision and health insurance, should not be considered to be income for purposes of calculating alimony. The Court ruled that these benefits were not in-kind payments or liquid assets.
Finally, the appellate court pointed out that in calculating an alimony award, alimony is assessed based upon the net incomes of the parties, and not based upon their gross incomes.