Saporito v. Saporito, 5D02-200.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtSAWAYA, J.
Citation831 So.2d 697
PartiesSamuel J. SAPORITO, JR., Appellant, v. Mary Y. SAPORITO, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 5D02-200.,5D02-200.
Decision Date25 October 2002

831 So.2d 697

Samuel J. SAPORITO, JR., Appellant,
Mary Y. SAPORITO, Appellee

No. 5D02-200.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

October 25, 2002.

831 So.2d 698
Terry L. Bledsoe of Terry L. Bledsoe, P.A., Casselberry, for Appellant

Wendy L. Aikin of Wendy L. Aikin, P.A., Winter Park, for Appellee.


Samuel Saporito appeals the final judgment of dissolution of marriage dissolving his eighteen-month marriage to Mary Saporito. He argues (1) the trial court erred in failing to make findings to justify the entitlement, amount, and duration of the awards it made and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in awarding lump sum rehabilitative alimony, medical expenses and attorneys fees to Mary Saporito. Because our review of this case is thwarted by the failure of the final judgment to contain the requisite findings of fact, we must reverse and remand this case to the trial court for rendition of an amended final judgment containing specific findings of fact, supported by the evidence, to substantiate the awards made.

At seventy-seven years of age, Samuel is twenty-seven years older than Mary. Samuel testified that he was lonely after the death of his wife of forty-four years and was persuaded by a business acquaintance to contact that man's girlfriend's sister, Mary, who lived in Iraq. Samuel eventually capitulated and wrote Mary. Mary's sister paid for Samuel to fly to the Middle East to meet Mary. Samuel and Mary met and liked one another. After Samuel returned to Florida, Mary's brother told Samuel that Mary needed money, so Samuel sent her financial assistance. Samuel was encouraged to write love letters to Mary which would convince the INS that the two were in love and really wanted to marry. After Samuel obtained a fiancee visa for Mary, Mary flew to Chicago, explaining that she wanted to visit with her mother, two sisters, and brother who live there.

A cancerous lump was found in Mary's breast while she was in Chicago. Only then did Mary come to Florida. Samuel explained that it had been difficult for him to be the caretaker of his first wife, who had suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and he did not want to get into a situation where he would have to provide that care for Mary. It should be noted, too, that Samuel provides for the care and support of his adult son, who was brain-damaged at birth.

After Samuel refused to marry her, Mary went to live with her sister in Orlando and underwent the cancer operation. Several months after the operation, Mary called Samuel, crying and saying she did not want to return to Iraq. Samuel still refused to marry her, but did offer to pay an attorney if the attorney could find some way for Mary to stay in the country. The attorney was unsuccessful. Samuel decided then that because he had told her while

831 So.2d 699
in the Middle East that he would marry her, he would stick to his promise and do so

Samuel explained that he was lonely and the marriage would be convenient for both of them; Mary would get to live in the United States and he would have company. The two were married on August 12, 1999. Mary went to work at Burdines in October and switched to Dillards soon thereafter. Mary did as she pleased with the money she earned. It appears she was working in order to have health insurance because Samuel could not obtain any for her given her recent cancer surgery. Mary did not cook or clean for Samuel as Samuel had a housekeeper. Samuel provided a vehicle for Mary, but there was no commingling of assets.

Mary had not planned to leave her country, she testified, but she was lonely and, when she received the letters from Samuel, she thought he was lonely, too. Because she was over forty years old and had not had a relationship, she decided that she would just "give it a try." She stated that she is an educated person and made the decision to leave Iraq freely and "by my own." She thought she loved Samuel. Anticipating that her request to leave Iraq would be denied by the government because she was in charge of so many places in Iraq as branch manager for the machinery department of the Ministry of Housing, Mary left Iraq via Jordan.

Mary testified that she cannot support herself now, but would like to take a community college course and learn AutoCAD design engineering. The cost of this venture was presented to the court. Mary speaks four languages and admitted it was possible for her to get a job as an interpreter. She stated that the cancer had spread to a lung and her medicines are expensive. Although she had health insurance while employed at Dillards, she had recently quit that job to work for her sister's boyfriend. No insurance was provided at this new job, but the position allows her to rest as needed. She has continued her prior insurance via COBRA.

The trial court made numerous findings of fact, many of which are simply not supported by the evidence or are contrary to the evidence. Based on its findings, the trial court ordered Samuel to pay the lump sum of $70,192.44 as rehabilitative alimony (two months at $1,508.86 per month; twenty-four months at $2,382.28 per month; ten months at $1,000 per month). Samuel was made responsible for half of all non-covered medical expenses incurred by Mary during the marriage and since the date of separation. Samuel was also ordered to pay Mary's attorney's fees and costs.

This court is unable to sustain the rehabilitative alimony award given the failure of the final judgment to contain findings of fact relative to the factors set forth in section 61.08(2), Florida Statutes, to support the award. Just as Samuel argues, a trial court's failure to make the findings of fact required by section 61.08(2) constitutes reversible error. See Vitalis v. Vitalis, 799 So.2d 1127 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001); Hill v. Hooten, 776 So.2d 1004 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001); Brown v. Brown, 626 So.2d...

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  • Burnham v. Burnham, 2D03-1012.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 17, 2004
    ...See Beck v. Beck, 852 So.2d 934, 937 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003); Baime v. Baime, 850 So.2d 606, 607 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003); Saporito v. Saporito, 831 So.2d 697, 701 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002). A judgment provision simply stating the amount of attorney's fees required to be paid without any specific findings ......
  • Matajek v. Skowronska, 5D04-2783.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 31, 2006 was that the spouses drove old vehicles. This evidence does not establish their standard of living. See Saporito v. Saporito, 831 So.2d 697, 700 (Fla. 5th DCA Similarly, the court erred by making no finding regarding the Former Wife's earning ability and failing to factor her pote......
  • Geoghegan v. Geoghegan, 5D06-1843.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • November 16, 2007
    ...local government. Our task on review is to determine whether the judgment is supported by competent evidence. See Saporito v. Saporito, 831 So.2d 697, 701 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002). In order to facilitate a meaningful appellate review of the trial court's alimony determination, it is incumbent up......
  • Lovell v. Lovell, s. 5D08-12, 5D08-1393.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • June 12, 2009
    ...amount awarded. Id. Finally, the trial court must make explicit the basis for the amount and duration of the award. Saporito v. Saporito, 831 So.2d 697, 701 (Fla. 5th DCA In order to improve her employment status, former wife requested rehabilitative alimony because she planned to acquire a......
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