Family Law Appellate Update for week ending 10/14/16

FelixBaseman
FelixBaseman

Berger v. Berger (Fourth DCA, October 13, 2016)

The trial court chose to not award permanent alimony to the wife after a long-term marriage.  The Fourth District reversed.

First, the Court observed that although section 61.08 does not create a presumption in favor of permanent alimony in a long-term marriage, the courts continue to apply this presumption. The District Court reaffirmed that it “stand[s] by” this approach.

From there, the Court held that the trial court failed to make the requisite findings to enable it to reject an award of permanent alimony.  Instead, after reviewing the record the Court held that permanent alimony was appropriate because, among other things, the wife had not worked in more than 20 years, the husband has the ability to pay alimony and the wife has a need, and that even after obtaining full time work the wife would still not be able to meet her reasonable monthly needs.

The Court remanded the matter to the trial court to award permanent alimony in an amount it determined to be appropriate.