Alimony Award Must Provide for Wife’s Needs

A Florida Court of Appeals has reversed a trial court’s alimony award for failing to provide adequate support for a former wife’s needs and necessities in life as established during her marriage. The appellate court’s decision emphasizes that any award for alimony must comply with Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes.

Factors in Setting Alimony

Chapter 61.08(2) enumerates several factors that the court must consider in determining the amount of alimony for either spouse. These factors include:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Financial resources of the parties
  • Age, physical health and emotional condition of the parties
  • Educational levels, skills, employability, and earning capacity of each party
  • Each party’s contribution to the marriage
  • Responsibilities to minor children
  • Tax treatment and consequences of any alimony award
  • Sources of income available to the parties
  • All other factors necessary to do justice and equity between the parties

The appeals court stated that the records of the case showed certain facts such as the former wife’s unemployment during the marriage, her serious medical condition, and limited education. Moreover, the trial court found that the parties had a long-term marriage, that the former wife needed alimony, and that the former husband had the ability to pay alimony.

Despite these established circumstances, the trial court only awarded the wife $600 monthly, which was to cover her auto and health insurance premium.

The wife presented evidence on her behalf pro se, which presentation the court of appeals noted to be ‘inartful and disjointed’. Despite the wife’s vague testimony on important aspects such as her current residence, the appellate court still found other facts to support an award for alimony in an amount higher than the value of her auto and health insurance premium.

For failing to provide for the needs and necessities of life of the former wife, the court of appeals reversed the alimony award and remanded the case for a reconsideration of the amount based on the factors enumerated in Chapter 61 of the statutes.

This case demonstrates the importance of an experienced divorce attorney who can take care of the legal procedures for establishing relevant factors for the court’s consideration of alimony.

In Tampa Bay, Florida, the family lawyers of the Anton Legal Group have close to 30 years of experience in divorce cases and issues such as alimony or spousal support.

We invite you to contact one of our friendly attorneys for family law advice by calling (813) 443-5249.