Originally published in the March/April 2022 edition of Res Ipsa Loquitur
Accolades to the organizers and presenters of the 2022 Marital and Family Law Review Course presented in Orlando. The host facility, Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center is a beautiful place to hold such a large event. I got the feeling that everyone was as anxious as I was to get out and mingle in person with our colleagues across the State.
A relatively new case from November 2021 is Harby v Harby, 46 Fla L. Weekly D2453, from our own Second District. While Harby is not groundbreaking, it reminds us of how to treat two different items. First, future events which only “may” take place or even “probably” will take place, and second, how the court looks at pets.
The trial court was tasked with deciding the amount of alimony, if any, due to the Husband. The Husband testified that he planned to sell the marital home (which he was receiving in a partial settlement agreement) and use the proceeds to buy another smaller home. The Husband also testified that the total amount needed to support his expenses in the as yet unpurchased house would be more, once the sale of the old house and purchase of the new one occurred. The trial court awarded $1,735.89 per month alimony until the sale of the first house and purchase of a second, at which point alimony would increase to $2,439.80 per month.
Regarding the “future” alimony, the DCA ruled that since the Husband had testified to specifics such as that he would sell the current house within ninety (90) days and remove the Wife’s name from the mortgage, the evidence was enough for a potential automatic alimony change to occur. However, testimony regarding the new house and future expenses was not. So, the totality of the evidence did not support a future automatic increase.
As to the dogs, the court upheld the distribution. The court noted, that in Florida, pets are considered personal property. “The sentimental interest of one party cannot take priority to financial fairness to the other party.” The dogs were “family” dogs, not the Wife’s non-marital property, and the court did not abuse its discretion.
Family Law word for the day: Temulency – noun. Inebriation, drunkenness. “Your honor, my client couldn’t be here today, due to his chronic temulency.”
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