How Not to Set Alimony and Spousal Support in High Income Cases

Florida Husband and Wife divorce after a long-term marriage of more than twenty years. They have a daughter, who is a minor and a son who is a legal adult.

Wife is unemployed during the marriage.

Husband is a network television news anchor and earns over $1 million per year. The family enjoys a high standard of living.

Of course, Wife seeks alimony and spousal support in the divorce. And the family court awards alimony, of course.

But Wife appeals her alimony and spousal support award as being too low. She cites two issues.

First, Husband chooses to pay their adult son’s living expenses and tuition for college. Over $50,000 per year.

The family court credits Husband’s payments for their son as alimony and spousal support to Wife.

Second, the family court discounts various expenses listed on Wife’s financial affidavit … although they are consistent with Wife’s spending history and well within Husband’s budget.

And, on appeal, the court reverses the family court’s holding regarding alimony and spousal support, and remands the case for further proceedings, specifically, consideration of the couple’s standard of living during their marriage and eliminating the credit for Husband’s voluntary payment of their adult son’s college expenses.

The appellate court also anticipates re-determination of Wife’s fee award based in part on the family court’s errors in calculation as well as reductions based on what it considered “unreasonable positions” taken by Wife. The appellate court disagreed with that characterization.

Read more of this high profile alimony case.