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Life Insurance to Secure Alimony Obligation

 

Often when Courts award alimony they also order the payor former spouse to secure his or her alimony obligation with a life insurance policy.  In fact Florida Statute 61.08(3) states in pertinent part:

To the extent necessary to protect an award of alimony, the court may order any party who is ordered to pay alimony to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy or a bond, or to otherwise secure such alimony award with any other assets which may be suitable for that purpose.

The issue raised in the recent 5th DCA case of Sweeny v. Sweeny[1] , is when is it appropriate to order the payor Former spouse to be required to secure his or her alimony obligation.  The 5th DCA overturned the trial court order requiring the payor Former Husband to secure his alimony with a life insurance policy.  In overturning the trial court ruling, the 5th DCA held:

This Court and other districts have held that such security is justified only if there is demonstrated need to protect the alimony recipient, such as when he or she would be left in dire economic straits upon the death of the payor former spouse…. In addition, “[t]he trial court must set forth specific findings of special circumstances, the payor spouse must set forth specific findings of special circumstances, the payor spouse’s ability to afford the security, and whether the security exists only for arrearages, or alternatively, of the whole portion of the security is payable to the surviving family to minimize economic hard.” Mackoul v. Mackoul, 32 So.3d 741 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010).


[1] Case is not Final as a Motion for Rehearing has been filed.

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