The Division of Property and Assets statute in Florida classifies property as marital assets and nonmarital assets. A divorce court divides marital assets between the parties. However, nonmarital assets are retained by their owner. When a nonmarital asset is enhanced in value by marital labor or by marital money, the enhancement in value itself becomes a marital asset. In a recently decided case captioned Higgins v. Musso, the wife received a home as part of her divorce from her first husband. She borrowed money from her parents to buy out her first husband's interest in the property. The wife's mother filed a lien on the property which proved that the wife borrowed money to purchase and renovate the home. The wife also utilized marital funds to fix the property after it was damaged by two hurricanes. The wife painted the ceiling, installed new carpet, and put in a new roof. Insurance proceeds paid for some of the repairs. The parties took out a line of credit to build the marital home and took out a loan to repay the line of credit. The home sold for over a million dollars. The sale proceeds were deposited into a bank account. The trial court ruled that the entire proceeds from the sale of the home were marital assets.
In calculating an alimony award, the amount of income that a spouse may be able to earn is a factor that the court should consider. The court should look at the impecunious spouses' work history, occupational qualifications, and the prevailing earnings in the community for the type of jobs for which the spouse is qualified. The amount of income a spouse may be able to earn is a factor that the court should consider in determining an alimony award. The court should consider the wife's work history, her occupational qualifications, and the prevailing earnings in the community for the type of jobs for which the wife is qualified. In Adelberg v. Adelberg, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "We review imputation of income based on whether it is supported by competent, substantial evidence. Marshall-Beasley v. Beasley, 11 So.3d751,755 (Fla.4th DCA 2011).
In a modification of alimony proceeding, the moving party must show that there has been a substantial change in the party's circumstances, the change was not contemplated at the time of the final judgment of dissolution, and the change is sufficient, material, involuntary, and permanent in nature. In Garvey v. Garvey, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "This court has explained: 'In petitioning to modify alimony, the moving party must show three fundamental prerequisites: First, there must be a substantial change in circumstances. Second, the change was not contemplated at the time of final judgment of dissolution. Third, the change is sufficient, material, involuntary, and permanent in nature. Zeballos, 951 So. 2d at 974 (quoting Pimm v. Pimm, 601 So. 2d 534, 536 (Fla. 1992))... Further, "the proof required to modify a settlement agreement and the proof required to modify an award established by court order shall be the same." § 61.14(7), Fla. Stat. (2011)...
In a child relocation proceeding, when the parties' settlement agreement expressly prohibits a move, the party who seeks to relocate must show a substantial change in circumstances to justify the relocation. In Moore v. McIntosh the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "The trial court erred as a matter of law by modifying the parties' custody arrangement after finding that the parties' relocation to different cities in Okaloosa County, which resulted in each of them living twenty miles from their child's school in Okaloosa County, constituted a substantial change of circumstances.
In awarding a division of property and assets, a divorce court cannot order a service member to designate a life insurance beneficiary. In Hirsch v. Hirsch the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "[T]he Former Husband, appeals a Final judgment dissolving his marriage to...the Former Wife...During trial, the Former Husband testified briefly that he maintains a group life insurance policy acquired through his military service in the Army Reserve. He testified that at the time of trial he had named as the policy's beneficiaries his children, his parents, and his fiancée.