#Florida Divorce

Permanent Alimony Remains “Alive and Well” in Florida

Posted by on Nov 9, 2016 in Alimony, Florida Divorce, Sidweber & Weintraub
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Though the Florida Legislature almost abrogated permanent alimony in Florida over the past several years, a recent decision from Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal affirms that permanent alimony remains “alive and well” in certain long-term marriages, in Florida. Florida Statute 61.08 (Florida’s alimony statute) defines a long- term marriage as a marriage that has a duration of seventeen (17) years or more. If a marriage is long-term, there remains a rebuttable presumption in favor of awarding the non-income earning spouse permanent alimony.

On October 13, 2016, the 4th District Court of Appeal overturned a trial court’s denial of Wife’s request for permanent alimony, in favor of an award of durational alimony.  Berger v. Berger, 2016 WL 5940058 (Fla. 4th DCA, October 13, 2016). In Berger, the Husband and Wife had a long-term marriage lasting 18 years.  The Husband was a physician and primary income earner, and the Wife was a “stay at home mother” for nearly the entire marriage, but had a degree in social work. The trial court only awarded the Wife durational alimony for ten (10) years, rather than permanent alimony, reasoning that she “should” be able to obtain employment, as a teacher, within two (2) years.

On appeal, the Wife, in part, argued that the trial court erred in not awarding her permanent alimony, because the Final Judgment failed to reflect that the Court applied the rebuttable presumption that exists in favor of permanent alimony, pursuant to Florida Statute 61.08, in such a long-term marriage. The appellate court opined that the trial court’s findings were insufficient to rebut the presumption in favor of permanent alimony and further found that permanent alimony was appropriate and necessary, based upon the duration of the marriage, the earnings of the parties and the Wife’s educational background.

Despite the trending alimony reform movement and Senate Bill 668 being a “hot topic” in Florida, this case shows that permanent alimony remains alive and well in Florida, pending any further legislative action. The Board Certified expert family law attorneys at Sidweber and Weintraub, P.A. are specialists in dealing with alimony and other family law issues, and can provide qualified personalized legal advice as it relates to your particular matter.

For more information on issues pertaining to Florida family law, divorce, property distribution, modification, prenuptial agreements, child support, time sharing/custody and alimony cases, please call the Board Certified Attorneys at Sidweber and Weintraub, P.A., for a consultation.

Florida Federal Judge Has Ruled on the Ban of Same-Sex Marriages

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Same Sex Marriage
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On August 21, 2014, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee ruled that Florida’s gay-marriage ban is, in fact, unconstitutional. This is the first decision rendered by a court of this State that actually has a statewide impact. This Federal Judge ordered the State of Florida to allow same sex couple to marry and to recognize legal same sex marriages performed out of state. The Florida Attorney General’s office has until September 22, 2014 to decide whether to bring this matter before the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, GA. However, in the interim, Judge Hinkle did stay the effects of most of his ruling, pending appeal. (more…)

Status Update on the Florida Supreme Court case of Hahamovitch v. Hahamovitch

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in Prenuptial Agreement
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As promised, the firm of Sidweber & Weintraub, P.A, is providing an update of Hahamovitch v. Hahamovitch, Case No. 4D11-3369 (FL Dist. 4 Ct. App., Jan. 8, 2014) pending before the Florida Supreme Court. As discussed in our prior blog, this case involves the validity and interpretation of a Prenuptial Agreement, and the issue of waiver of appreciation of a spouse’s non-marital and/or pre-marital assets. (more…)

Attorney’s Fee Award

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Attorney Fee
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An award of attorney’s fees to a party in a matrimonial proceeding must meet the specific requirements of F.S. 61.16, Fla. Patient’s Comp. Fund. V. Rowe, 472 So.2d 1145 (Fla. 1985) and other legal precedent. Recently, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal reversed an award of attorney’s fees to the Wife, in Robert Mitchell v. Cynthia Mitchell, 2014 WL 2751058 (Fla. App. 1 Dist.). In this case, the appellate court found that the Trial Court erred in its award of attorney’s fees to the Wife, because the Trial Court failed to comply with Section 61.16 of the Florida Statutes (2013). When a Trial Court makes and award of attorney’s fees, there must be an explicit and stated finding as to the attorney’s hours expended, hourly rate and reasonableness of the fee. (more…)

Florida Supreme Court accepts Hahamovitch Prenuptial Agreement Case.

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Prenuptial Agreement
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In the case of Hahamovitch v. Hahamovitch, Case No. 4D11-3369 (FL Dist. 4 Ct. App., Jan. 8, 2014) the Fourth District Court of Appeal requested that a controversial issue concerning the specific interpretation of Florida prenuptial agreements should be brought before and decided by the Florida Supreme Court. The specific and technical issue relates to a spouse’s right to claim an interest in the marital appreciation and growth of the other spouse’s assets, in light of certain waivers and language as contained in the Prenuptial Agreement previously executed by the parties. This case was eventually adjudicated by the 15th Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County, with Sidweber & Weintraub, P.A. representing the Wife. (more…)