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.
An alimony case involving imputation of income was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Jorgensen v. Tagarelli. In this case the wife appealed a final judgment in which the lower court incorrectly imputed income. In the case at bar, the wife earned $118,000, in 2016. The parties separated, and the wife voluntarily left her job and began working as a self-employed insurance broker, where she earned approximately $38,000. The husband asked the trial court to impute income to the wife based upon his contention that the wife intentionally caused the reduction her income.
A child custody and visitation case was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Frye v. Cuomo. In this case, the parties were married for nine-years. They had two minor children at the time of the divorce. The mother filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, citing the father's history of alcohol abuse. As a condition to exercise timesharing, the trial court required the father to completely abstain from alcohol, and ordered the father to submit to blood alcohol testing at the beginning of every visitation and at the end of every visitation. The lower court also awarded the mother the authority to demand immediate and periodic testing of the father at any time, and required the Father to pay for the cost of the testing device.
Appropriate division of property and assets in Florida divorce proceedings was recently explained by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Jackson v. Blazer. In reaching its decision in this division of property and assets matter, the Court turned to the statutory definitions of marital and nonmarital property in the State of Florida. In Florida, marital property includes: (i) assets obtained and liabilities incurred during the course of the marriage; (ii) the increase in the value of nonmarital assets that result from either party's efforts during the course of the marriage or from the use of marital funds; (iii) the reduction in the principal of any mortgages secured by real property that are nonmarital, and part of any passive appreciation in properties if the mortgages are reduced with marital funds; (iv) gifts that the parties give to each other during the marriage; (v) retirement benefits, annuities, insurance, deferred compensation, and pension and profit-sharing rights obtained during the course of the marriage; and (iv) property held by the husband and wife as tenants by the entireties is presumed to be a marital. This presumption is rebuttable.
Imputation for purposes of alimony was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Cura v. Cura. In Cura v. Cura, the Husband filed an appeal challenging an order awarding temporary alimony and child support. After a seventeen year marriage, the husband and wife separated. When the parties separated they were living at the husband's mother's home in Palm Beach County, Florida. The wife obtained her own residence and filed for divorce. She sought an award of temporary alimony and child support. During the course of the marriage, the parties enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. Immediately before the filing for divorce, the parties sold a valuable piece of property. The husband then sold a second piece of property. Finally, the husband took out a large mortgage on a third piece of property. The husband also sold a number of investments.
Child Custody and Visitation in Florida was recently addressed by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Beck v. Lewis. In this case the father appealed the temporary order of the court which created a temporary timesharing schedule for the parents. The trial court granted temporary primary custody of the child to the mother. The Court of Appeal affirmed this temporary order. The temporary order terminated a prior court order that awarded temporary timesharing to the child's grandmother.
An alimony issue was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Cooper v. Cooper. In this case the husband appealed a divorce judgment obtained by his wife. The trial court awarded the wife permanent alimony. The Husband contended that the amount of the alimony award was improper. The Florida Court of Appeal agreed. In calculating alimony, the trial court included the husband's total income which consisted of the husband's salary and bonuses. The Florida Court of Appeal ruled that the ability to pay alimony is based on net income, not total income. Therefore, the appellate court reversed the alimony award and remanded the case back to the trial court with directions that the trial curt should issue an award based upon the husband's net income. Additionally, the appellate court directed the trial court to calculate the tax consequences of the support award on the husband's net income. Finally, the Florida Court of Appeal instructed the trial court to determine whether life insurance was required to secure the payment of the alimony award based on the cost of the insurance, its availability and the need for this insurance.
In awarding alimony, the trial court is required to take into account the payor's living expenses. In a recently decided case before the Florida Court of Appeal captioned Will v. Will, the husband appealed the lower court's award of alimony. The husband challenged the alimony award, because the trial court erred in determining his ability to pay without taking into account his living expenses. The Florida Court of Appeal reversed the lower court's alimony award. The Florida Court of Appeal stated that when a trial court calculates alimony, it is required to take into account the payor's living expenses when determining the payor's ability to pay. In determining a payor's ability to pay, a court must consider the payor's necessary and reasonable living expenses. An award of support must take into account the payor's living expenses. An award of alimony shouldn't substantially endanger a payor's economic status. Since the lower court failed to take into account the husband's living expenses, the Florida Court of Appeal reversed the award and ordered the court to consider the husband's living expenses and his current income in calculating the appropriate alimony award.
Child Custody and Visitation for Same-Sex Couples in Florida was recently discussed by the Florida Court of Appeal in a case captioned Springer v. Springer. In Springer v. Springer a child was born to a biological mother while she was in a same-sex relationship. Her partner asked the Court to recognize a parenting plan that both parties entered into. The parties started their relationship in the State of Ohio. The Biological Mother became pregnant by a donor's sperm. The Former Partner had no biological connection to the child. The parties entered into a timesharing agreement which contained a provision that the parties were to share timesharing and parental responsibility. The parties separated after they moved to Florida. The parties did not marry and the child was not adopted by the Former Partner. The Former Partner sought time-sharing and parental responsibility of the child.
In a recently decided divorce case, the Florida Court of Appeal decided who gets to keep the family home when there is a divorce. In a case captioned Walker v. Walker, the Florida Court of Appeal stated that as a general rule, absent special circumstances, the trial court should award to the primary residential parent exclusive use and possession of the marital home until the youngest child reaches the age of majority or is emancipated, or the primary residential parent remarries. Special circumstances include where the parties' combined incomes are insufficient to meet their normal living expenses, obligations, debts and the cost of maintaining the marital home. Exclusive use and occupancy will not be awarded where the former husband and former wife do not have a sufficient combined income to maintain the marital home and meet their obligations. Florida statutes require courts to assess the desirability of maintaining the marital home as a place for the children to live when it is equitable to do so, it is financially feasible, and it is in the children's best interest. In reaching this decision, divorce courts are to first decide whether it is in the best interest of the children to stay in the marital home, and, if not, whether other equities are served by giving the other spouse exclusive use and possession of the parties' marital home.