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Temporary Alimony Can Lead to Protracted Legal Disputes in Complex Cases


Florida has finally abolished permanent alimony after many years of controversy.  The thought of permanent alimony provokes strong feelings in people who might be ordered to pay it or might be entitled to receive it, but in practice, permanent alimony has only been awarded in a small minority of divorce cases in recent decades.  In fact, the majority of alimony payments go to spouses whose divorce cases are still pending.  Pendente lite alimony, named after a Latin phrase that means, “while the legal case is pending,” is the most common of Florida’s five types of alimony awards.  It automatically terminates when the divorce becomes final, at which time it may or may not be replaced by a different alimony order.  Even though pendente lite alimony is, by nature, temporary, it still can be the cause of major conflict during divorce.  For example, Lisa Hochstein of the Real Housewives of Miami has been receiving $8,000 per month in temporary alimony from her estranged husband for almost a year.  Temporary alimony is just one of the factors that make net worth divorce so complicated.  It creates a vicious cycle; the longer your divorce case goes on, the more temporary alimony you owe, and the more temporary alimony the court orders, the more there is to disagree about before you can finalize your divorce.  If disagreements over pendente lite alimony are making your messy divorce even messier, contact a Boca Raton alimony lawyer.

Court Jails Husband for Failing to Pay More Than $100,000 in Alimony During Pending Divorce

A wealthy couple in Palm Beach County filed for divorce in 2018, and as of February 2023, their divorce case was still pending.  The appeals court’s decision did not indicate how long the parties were married before they filed for divorce.  By 2021, the husband had just over $140,000 in outstanding pendente lite alimony obligations; the court’s decision did not indicate the original monthly pendente lite alimony amount or how much the husband had paid.  Most of the time, courts base the pendente lite alimony amount on the difference between the monthly household expenses, such as the home mortgage and utility bills, and the recipient spouse’s ability to pay.

In the summer of 2021, the wife petitioned the court to hold the husband in contempt for disobeying the alimony order.  The husband did not personally attend the contempt hearing, but his lawyer attended.  The court imposed a penalty of jail time, but the husband filed an appeal saying that the court did not give him a fair chance to prove his inability to pay before sentencing him to jail.  The appeals court ruled that the trial court had erred by sentencing the husband to jail before giving him a fair chance to prove his inability to pay.

Contact Schwartz | White About Disputes Over Temporary Alimony

A South Florida family law attorney can help you if you and your spouse have reached an impasse about alimony before your divorce has even become final.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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