Sherlock v. Sherlock (4th DCA)

The trial court denied the husband’s request for alimony because, among other reasons, it imputed income to him based on a reasonable rate of return (3% per year) on his assets.  The husband appealed, arguing that the bulk of his assets were not liquid and that he therefore could not receive interest on them unless they were sold.  He argued that the trial court’s order therefore improperly required him to liquidate assets to support himself.

The District Court observed that although income should not be imputed based on the value of a party’s current residence, the law is not clear on whether income should be imputed on other non-liquid assets.  The Court ultimately held that it would not be equitable for the husband to be allowed to hold onto poorly performing real estate assets while his wife was forced to work and pay him support.  To that point, the Court affirmed that the trial court was correct to impute interest income on the husband’s non-liquid assets (other than his home).

The Court acknowledged that a case out of the Second District “suggests, but does not directly hold, that a party should not be required to change the character of an asset to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage.” (Citing Suit v. Suit, 48 So. 3d 195, 197 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010)).