What Happens to Your Alimony Obligations If Your Ex-Spouse’s Live-In Partner Dies?
Most alimony awards come with an automatic expiration date. For marriages shorter than seventeen years, the duration of the alimony cannot be longer than the duration of the marriage. Even in cases of permanent alimony, the recipient automatically loses the right to continue collecting alimony if he or she remarries, regardless of the financial situation of the new spouse. If your ex-spouse enters a new relationship, it does not automatically mean that you can stop paying alimony. The alimony obligations only change if you can prove that your ex is getting significant financial support from the new partner, such as if they live together. If your ex-spouse has sources of income that the court failed to consider when determining your alimony obligations, contact a South Florida alimony lawyer.
Details of the Singer Case
Katherine Eichler and David Singer married in 2001; they had one child together, who was still a minor at the time of the divorce. One of the factors leading to the breakdown of their marriage was that Katherine refused to reenter the workforce. The couple separated for the final time in 2015, but their divorce trial did not begin until the fall of 2017. In January 2018, the judge announced the court’s decision about their divorce case orally.
Because Katherine was not working at the time of the divorce, the court imputed income to her. It determined that she was capable of earning $35,360 per year. She was living with her boyfriend, and the court calculated that he contributed $10,800 per year to her living expenses. She also received about $10,000 each year from her father. Therefore, the court based its alimony and child support calculations on an imputed income of $56,160.
Several months passed between the oral pronouncement of the ruling and the court’s issuance of a written judgment of divorce. During that time, Katherine’s boyfriend and father both died unexpectedly, leading to a great reduction in her income. In fact, more than a third of the income the court had imputed to her was in the form of gifts from her husband and father. Despite that Katherine notified the court that she had lost two of the closest people in her life, it did not change the amount of income imputed to her before issuing the written judgment.
Katherine appealed the judgment. The appeals court ruled that the death of her father and boyfriend who supported her financially constituted a material change in circumstances. Therefore, it remanded the case to the trial court to recalculate her imputed income and to base its calculations of alimony and child support on the new amount.
Contact Schwartz | White About Imputed Income
Imputed income is only an educated guess; you have the right to challenge the amount of imputed income that the court assigns to you or your ex-spouse, either because you think the court made an error or because circumstances have changed. Contact the Boca Raton divorce attorneys at Schwartz | White for help.