Florida Alimony Rules

Understanding Florida Alimony Rules Two generations ago, it was taken for granted that a woman would likely stay home with her children while a man worked outside the home to support the family. When parents divorced, though, this arrangement could leave women impoverished and destitute. Alimony endeavored to bridge that gap by compensating women for their work inside of the home and enabling them to get back on their feet. Today, alimony is much less common than it was a generation ago, and anyone – male or female – can seek spousal support. If you think you might be eligible for alimony, here’s what you need to know. Florida Alimony Rules are Gender-Neutral Though alimony was once associated with women, both men and women are eligible for spousal support. In colloquial use, “palimony” refers to alimony paid to men. Practically speaking, though, there’s no legal difference between alimony for men and women; courts refer to both as spousal support.  Who Can Get Alimony? Alimony is not automatic. Indeed, it’s increasingly harder to get. Courts will take into account myriad factors when determining whether you’re eligible for alimony. Those factors include: Your ex’s income and ability to pay. Your income and assets, as well as your future earning power. The length of the marriage. Your role in the marriage. For instance, did you give up a lucrative career to raise kids, or work full-time while your spouse attended law school? The length of your marriage. Short marriages are unlikely to result in alimony awards, especially not large awards. Whether you and your spouse have an express or implied agreement to share...

Florida Appeals Court Reverses Alimony Case

WEST PALM BEACH ALIMONY LAWYER: West Palm Beach Divorce Lawyer Matthew S. Nugent observed the following case from Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal: Case:               Hammad v. Hammad Court:             Fifth District Court of Appeal. Trial Judge:   Hubert L. Grimes. Attorneys:      Bradley S. Sherman, Ivan K. Clements, Jr.. Issues:             Alimony, Attorney’s Fees. Holding:          Alimony awards made under final judgment must be based on the factual findings required under statute. Attorney’s fees ordered under final judgment must be based on the court’s factual findings regarding the parties’ respective financial need and ability to pay. In this case, the trial court erred in ordering the former husband pay to the former wife durational alimony and seventy-five percent (75%) of her attorney’s fees without making the requisite findings of fact. The matter was remanded for consideration of both issues. Matthew S. Nugent is a West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney with the law firm of Nugent Zborowski & Bruce. Mr. Nugent’s law practice is limited to the mediation, litigation and appeals of divorce and family law matters. His practice is throughout South Florida, including Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and other areas throughout Palm Beach County, Martin County and Broward County. To speak with Mr. Nugent, or another member of the firm, call (561)...

Second DCA Rules on Alimony Case

West Palm Beach Divorce Lawyer Matthew S. Nugent observed the following case from Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal: Case:               Valente v. Barion Court:             Second District Court of Appeal. Trial Judge:   Marc B. Gilner. Attorneys:      Cynthia L. Greene of Greene Smith & Associates, Marcia J. Lockwood. Issues:             Alimony, Attorney’s Fees. Holding:          Florida statute enables a trial court to award durational or permanent alimony on the dissolution of moderate term marriages. A marriage of twelve (12) years is considered a moderate term marriage. In ordering permanent alimony, the trial court must make specific factual determinations from the parties’ evidence regarding the actual need of the former spouse considering the factors set out in statute. In this case, the trial court erred in awarding the former wife permanent alimony in a twelve-year marriage and in denying her request for attorney’s fees and retroactive alimony. The trial court’s decision considered the respective health and employment status of the parties but improperly applied evidence that the former wife’s health and employment status were likely to improve in the two years following the entry of the judgment. The trial court’s decision on attorney’s fees and retroactive alimony was based on its award of permanent alimony. The matters were remanded on the issue of type and amount of alimony as well as attorney’s fees. Matthew S. Nugent is a West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney with the law firm of Nugent Zborowski & Bruce. Mr. Nugent’s law practice is limited to the mediation, litigation and appeals of divorce and family law matters. His practice is throughout South Florida, including Palm...

2013 Florida Alimony Reform Guide

2013 FLORIDA ALIMONY REFORM GUIDE As many are beginning to realize, the Florida Legislature is closing in on passing a comprehensive alimony reform bill that, as written, stands to eliminate permanent alimony in Florida. Christopher R. Bruce, a West Palm Beach Alimony Lawyer and partner of Nugent Zborowski & Bruce, recently explained some of the pros and cons of the alimony reform legislation to Chuck Weber, a journalist and reporter with WPEC-TV CBS 12, in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Mr. Bruce’s interview, which aired on April 8, 2013, can be viewed by clicking here. On April 4, 2013, Senate Bill 718 passed in the Florida Senate by a vote of 29-11.  The bill, which can be viewed here, has the following highlights: The bill constitutes a “substantial change in circumstances” that applies retroactivally to many court orders and settlement agreements pertaining to alimony.  This provision will allow many alimony payors to modify alimony previously set by a judge or in a settlement agreement if the amount of the alimony or term of the alimony payments exceed the guidelines below; The length of alimony awards are limited to one-half the length of the marriage; There is a strong presumption against alimony in marriages lasting less than 11 years.  In such marriages, alimony is limited to 25% of the payor’s gross income; There is no presumption for or against alimony in marriages lasting between 11 and 20 years.  In such marriages, alimony is limited to 35% of the payor’s gross income; and There is a presumption in favor of alimony in marriages lasting longer than 20 years.  In such marriages, alimony...

Florida Alimony Reform Effort is Based on Alimony Myths

Earlier this year a group known as Florida Alimony Reform led a grass-roots bid to drastically limit alimony in Florida.  Although the special interest group’s plan to eradicate permanent alimony ultimately failed, the group has vowed to be back in Tallahassee during Florida’s 2013 legislative session. On October 20, 2012, the South Florida Daily Business Review published an article written by Nugent Zborowski & Bruce partner Christopher R. Bruce.   The article, titled “Divorce, Family Law Attorney Busts Alimony Myths”, explains how the effort to reform Florida’s alimony laws is largely based on a misunderstanding of the Florida laws pertaining to the establishment, modification and termination of alimony in Florida. Click Christopher R. Bruce Alimony Myths Article to read the article from the South Florida Daily Business Review.  Additionally, click Florida Alimony Guide, or call (561) 844-1200 to speak to a Nugent Zborowski & Bruce divorce attorney for more information about establishing, modifying or terminating alimony in...

Firm’s Article on Alimony Reform Published in the South Florida Daily Business Review

The South Florida Daily Business Review recently featured an article written Nugent Zborowski & Bruce partner Christopher R. Bruce.  The article highlights a special interest group’s failed attempt at eliminating permanent alimony from the Florida Statutes during the 2012 legislative session. The article can be viewed by clicking: Christopher Bruce’s Alimony Reform Article from the South Florida Daily Business Review. Click here or call 561.844.1200 for more information about the Palm Beach County Divorce and family law attorneys of Nugent Zborowski & Bruce.      ...