Smith Family Law Update: Week of April 24, 2017

Strawitch v. Strawitch: Fla 1st DCA, April 24, 2017:
Though granting of modification of child support was appropriate, when calculating the amount of father’s resulting overpayment, court erred in accepting father’s counsel’s figure for overpayment without evidence to support it.

Ziruolo v. Ziruolo: Fla 1st DCA, April 28, 2017:
Trial court erred in providing one parent with ultimate decision making authority with regards to health needs, school matters and other activities without providing a basis for this determination. Trial court erred by requiring one party to take on a marital debt due to his higher income. While an inequitable distribution can occur, the court must consider the factors under Florida Statutes 61.075(1)(a)-(j). Trial court also erred by not calculating child support pursuant to child support guidelines. Finally, due to the myriad of errors above, the attorney fee award had to be remanded for additional calculation with guidance that a critical factor for a trial court to consider in awarding fees is the financial situation of the parties after the dissolution proceeding has concluded.

Hanson v. Hanson: Fla 2nd DCA, April 28, 2017:
Trial court erred in basing alimony calculation on Husband’s gross income as opposed to his net income. However, 2nd DCA rejected Husband’s argument that the parties’ lifestyles had been considered inappropriately. Further, trial court did not abuse discretion in including SBP (Survivor Benefit Plan) coverage over and above her coverture amount in calculating her need for alimony. While the court could have determined that this was a voluntary expense incurred by the Wife, it was within the trial court’s discretion to consider the premium as part of Wife’s need. Finally, it was error to order Husband to pay additional attorney’s fees to Wife in addition to that which he already paid temporarily where the parties assets were equally divided and their incomes equalized through the alimony award.

Stephens v. Whittaker: Fla 5th DCA, April 28, 2017:
While it would have been preferred that the trial court explicitly listed the value of the marital home in the final judgment, as opposed to simply dividing the equity in the home, there was no error as calculation was correct. Further, while trial court erred in failing to place a value on the marital liability of the credit cards (and simply stated that the parties would take their respective credit card debt) Wife did not raise said issue on appeal. Finally, trial court did not err in denying alimony and attorney’s fees where the court noted that the parties agreed that there was no need and no ability for ongoing alimony payments or attorney’s fees.

Posted by Roy Smith on Apr 28th 2017