Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Third DCA Reverses Equitable Distribution and Alimony Awards

In Byrne v. Byrne, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the lower tribunal’s equitable distribution today, for various reasons.  First, the lower court distributed the entire liability associated with the parties’ home, currently under water, to the Former Wife without including that loss in the equitable distribution, evidently on the assumption that the debt would disappear if the Former Wife walked away from the former marital home, and the Third District found instead that it had to be treated like any other debt.  Second, the lower court distributed a value associated with a now dissipated investment account to the Former Husband in an attempt to cure his dissipation, but did not include that distribution in the remainder of the equitable distribution plan formed.  The alimony then awarded to the Former Husband was reversed largely because of the lower court’s failure to distribute the assets according to statute, to consider the Former Husband’s retirement income, and refusal to reopen the evidence to consider a substantial reduction in the Former Wife’s salary.

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