What the Wayne v. Einspar Case Reveals About Marital Property and Alimony

Alan R. Burton Attorney at Law

Florida is one of only a few states that still allow permanent alimony, and for that it has gained some notoriety. Of course, the requirements for awarding permanent alimony are quite strict, and the cases that involve it tend to be complex. The guiding principle that Florida courts use in determining spousal support and other matters related to property division is equitable distribution. Equitable distribution means assigning to each spouse the assets and obligations that the court deems fair based on the couple’s unique circumstances. As you might imagine, there is plenty of room for disagreement about what is fair. The Wayne v. Einspar appeal is a recent Florida family law case in which a former spouse challenged the court’s decision regarding equitable distribution.

Background of the Wayne v. Einspar Case

Matthew Wayne and Susan Einspar divorced in 2013, after their son had reached adulthood. At the time of their divorce, both parents had separately cosigned for various loans for their young adult son. Wayne was a cosigner on the student loans, and Einspar was a cosigner on the car loan. In the original divorce decision, the court did not count the loans as marital property.  Additionally, the court required Wayne to pay permanent alimony to Einspar and to keep a life insurance policy with Einspar as the beneficiary in order to secure this alimony. Wayne filed an appeal, challenging the court’s original decision on 10 counts, many of them related to alimony.

The Appeal

Wayne appealed many aspects of the court’s decision regarding the couple’s finances. He disagreed with the award of permanent alimony and the way the court calculated his net income.  He also challenged the fact that the court did not impute Einspar’s income; that is, it did not take into account her income potential. The court rejected most of his requests; in fact, it only reversed its decision on two of the 10 counts.

In deciding the appeal, the court gave Wayne credit for paying temporary alimony to Einspar during the approximately two years between when the couple filed for divorce and before the divorce was finalized. Temporary alimony is one of six types of alimony in Florida; it is paid only as long as the divorce case is ongoing, and it automatically ends when the court issues a divorce decree.

The court also ruled, in response to Wayne’s appeal, to count the student loan and car loan as marital property. In Florida, all assets and debts accrued by either spouse during the marriage are generally considered marital property, even if they are not registered in the names of both spouses. Since Wayne and Einspar had taken out the loans for their son before filing for divorce, the court declared in the appeal ruling that these debts were marital property.

Contact Burton Law With Questions About Complex Divorce

Family finances are never simple when a divorce happens after a long marriage. Contact Alan Burton in Palm Beach County with questions about alimony and division of property.

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