George v. George, 77-1435

Decision Date27 June 1978
Docket NumberNo. 77-1435,77-1435
Citation360 So.2d 1107
PartiesFrank Hugh GEORGE, Appellant, v. Kathryn Irene GEORGE, Appellee.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Silver S. Squarcia, Miami, for appellant.

Philip A. Holtsberg, Coconut Grove, and Alan M. Sandler, Miami, for appellee.

Before PEARSON, HENDRY and KEHOE, JJ.

PEARSON, Judge.

This is an appeal by the former husband from a final judgment dissolving marriage. The points presented claim error in the financial provisions of the judgment. Although the husband has presented twenty-six points on appeal, we think that the issues presented may be adequately decided under four headings: (1) Were there prejudicial, procedural errors in the trial court proceedings that deprived the husband of a fair trial of the issues involved? (2) Does the record support the trial judge's finding of the wife's need for permanent alimony in the amount allowed by the trial judge? (3) Does the record support the trial judge's finding that the parties' adopted son is entitled to support after his eighteenth birthday as a dependent? (4) Was an allowance of attorney's fees supported by the record?

The parties are both over sixty years of age, and are both employed as teachers in the Dade County system. At the time this matter was in the trial court, the husband had a yearly salary of approximately $18,475.00 and the wife approximately $17,433.00. Their adopted son has a debilitating muscular disorder and has grave personality maladjustments.

Our examination of the record shows no prejudicial error in the conduct of the trial or the entry of the final judgment. The cause was bitterly contested on the issues presented here and the appellant husband was afforded a full opportunity to be heard and present evidence on each issue.

With regard to the amount of permanent alimony, in our view, the amount of $165.00 a month to the wife is not supported by the record. We recognize the limitation imposed upon our review of allowances made in dissolution of marriage cases by the opinions of the Supreme Court in Herzog v. Herzog, 346 So.2d 56 (Fla.1977); and Shaw v. Shaw, 334 So.2d 13 (Fla.1976). In the instant case, we are dealing not with a claimed abuse of discretion but rather with a finding of a present need for permanent alimony. The trial judge found, as follows:

"8. HEALTH OF THE PETITIONER. The petitioner/wife is in a state of poor physical health, due to the fact that she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, the petitioner suffers from high-blood pressure, has a hiatal hernia, and also has colitis. Her poor physical health has caused her to have a loss of present income, as a result of absence from her employment, which loss will not diminish in the foreseeable future.

"9. FINANCIAL MATTERS:

"(a) Petitioner/wife is employed as a school teacher and earns an average monthly net salary of $871.28. The petitioner wife has present expenses per month of $1,212.19.

"(b) Respondent/husband is employed as a school teacher. His gross annual salary is approximately $18,000.00 and he has the ability to provide the wife and child with the sums that they need.

"(c) The parties own jointly their marital domicile located at 5201 S.W. 87 th Avenue, Miami, Florida. There is a mortgage outstanding against this property, which amortizes at the monthly rate of approximately $288.00.

"(d) Respondent/Husband, owns in his individual name a home located at 6840 South Waterway Drive, Miami, Florida. There is a mortgage outstanding against his property which amortizes at a monthly rate of approximately $190.00.

"(e) The parties own three automobiles. A 1972 Dodge Colt, a 1965 Dodge Dart, and a 1966 Ford.

"(f) Respondent/Husband owns individually certain personal property, including a boat, trailer, motor, and miscellaneous fishing equipment and tools, and in addition, furnishings at the home which is titled in his name individually.

"(g) The parties have a joint stock account at (Merrill) Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith, which contains securities with a market value of approximately $10,000.00.

"(h) Respondent/husband has securities at other brokerage houses all of which are titled in his name alone.

"(i) The parties have miscellaneous savings and checking accounts, located at various financial institutions."

Based upon this finding, the trial judge awarded permanent alimony of $165.00 per month and awarded to the wife use of the jointly owned marital residence so long as the minor child shall remain a dependent. 1 While the latter provision is properly considered under the issue of dependency, it is mentioned here as having a bearing on the need for permanent alimony. The wife lists needs for more money than her salary as a school teacher provides. The finding of the trial judge that her then salary has been depressed by her poor health is not supported by the fact that she continued to earn the salary stated. It is, of course, apparent that her poor health may cause the loss of earning capacity in the future.

An allotment of permanent alimony to the wife must be based upon her present needs. It has long been the policy of the courts of this state to base awards of permanent alimony on the needs of the wife and commensurate ability of the husband to pay for those needs. See, for example, Knox v....

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9 cases
  • Duncan v. Duncan
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • January 31, 1980
    ...McDonald v. McDonald, 368 So.2d 1283 (Fla.1979) (a form of rehabilitative alimony for a spouse demonstrating a need); George v. George, 360 So.2d 1107 (Fla. 3d DCA 1978) (aid to a child who had reached majority but who had a debilitating muscular disorder); Lange v. Lange, 357 So.2d 1035 (F......
  • Moore v. Moore, 80-1328
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • July 1, 1981
    ...334 So.2d 13 (Fla.1976); Chayka v. Chayka, 361 So.2d 430 (Fla. 4th DCA 1978), cert. denied, 367 So.2d 1122 (Fla.1979).3 George v. George, 360 So.2d 1107 (Fla.3d DCA 1978).4 Munger v. Munger, 249 So.2d 772 (Fla. 4th DCA 1971).5 The deed to the parties was never delivered to them; they paid n......
  • Sugrim v. Sugrim
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • February 10, 1995
    ...McDonald v. McDonald, 368 So.2d 1283 (Fla.1979) (a form of rehabilitative alimony for a spouse demonstrating a need); George v. George, 360 So.2d 1107 (Fla. 3d DCA 1978) (aid to a child who had reached majority but who had a debilitating muscular disorder); Lange v. Lange, 357 So.2d 1035 (F......
  • Sprunger v. Sprunger, 87-2339
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • December 14, 1988
    ...a dissolution hearing. See Finn v. Finn, 312 So.2d 726 (Fla.1975); Fagan v. Fagan, 381 So.2d 278 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980); George v. George, 360 So.2d 1107 (Fla. 3d DCA 1978); Cyr v. Cyr, 354 So.2d 140 (Fla. 2d DCA 1978); Baldi v. Baldi, 323 So.2d 592 (Fla. 3d DCA 1975). Dissolution proceedings ......
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