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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    14

    Default Can You Modify Alimony Based Upon the Repient's Getting an Inheritance

    My question involves a marriage in the state of: FLORIDA.

    I earn middle class income and have been paying $1,200 permanent (modifiable) alimony to ex-wife for 14 years. Her wealthy parents died. A few months ago she received inheritance from her mother's estate (I estimate in hundreds of thousands $$$) and is awaiting for much more from her father's estate currently being settled (will end up with probably over a $ million plus monthly rental income from two commercial properties in the $ thousands monthly). She has agreed that she has no need for alimony anymore and will agree to have it terminated, but ONLY after her father's estate is completely settled and she receives all the proceeds and starts receiving the monthly rental income. She is claiming that she cannot receive a dime from her father's estate until it's settled and says that the inheritance she already received from her mother is for her to save for other needs (house remodeling, savings etc), while she continues taking alimony. I have not officially filed anything with the court to petition for alimony termination as I am afraid of attorney/court costs, but if I do, can she really claim in court that she wants to save the inheritance she already received while continuing to take alimony? I thought alimony was based on need and not meant to enable the recipient to accumulate capital?? Any insight is appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,040

    Default Re: Alimony Recipient's Recent Inheritance

    Quote Quoting fluser
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    can she really claim in court that she wants to save the inheritance she already received while continuing to take alimony?
    She can "claim" anything she wants to "claim." But she isn't likely to be successful. This was recently addressed by the First District Court of Appeals in Florida in the case Wiesenfeld v. Wiesenfeld, 37 FLW D1949 (Fla. 1st DCA August 15, 2012). Here, the former wife was the beneficiary of a large of sum of money from an inheritance and the court found that her former husband could have his alimony obligation terminated because the former wife no longer needed spousal support in order to support herself.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    14

    Default Re: Alimony Recipient's Recent Inheritance

    Thank you for your response. And yes, fear is a great emasculator, and so is the corrupt family court system in one of the most corrupt counties in the country. I already tried to prove that she had no need for alimony 10 years ago after her income tripled following the divorce - the judge said NOPE, then charged me with $25,000 in her attorney fees for filing a "frivolous" claim, on top of my own fees. So $50,000 later, yes, I am fearful of the family court and judges who have the discretion to decide whatever they want, pretty much, regardless of the facts. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    1,515

    Default Re: Alimony Recipient's Recent Inheritance

    Quote Quoting fluser
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    can she really claim in court that she wants to save the inheritance she already received while continuing to take alimony?
    She can claim whatever she wants. If you don't want to wait until her father's estate is settled, consult with a local family law attorney about this and, depending on what advice you get, proceed to file for termination or wait.

    Quote Quoting fluser
    View Post
    the corrupt family court system in one of the most corrupt counties in the country.
    A court or a system is not "corrupt" just because the court ruled against you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,129

    Default Re: Alimony Recipient's Recent Inheritance

    It can't the that corrupt or there wouldn't be a case as adjustertjack just showed you that is on point and in your favor.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    14

    Default Re: Alimony Recipient's Recent Inheritance

    Thank you for your response also, pg1067. I am surprised by all the snarky comments that come with responses, as I thought I wrote a polite post simply asking a question. And no, the family court is not corrupt "just because the judge ruled against me" but that is a whole different conversation that has nothing to do with my original question, which was simply about the current situation with her recent inheritance. I understand very well that I can start paying my lawyer $400/hour to get more detailed answers, in which case I would not be asking questions on this board. I thought the whole point of this board was to get some opinions (for free) that might help with legal issues the posters are dealing with.

    Thank you all for the responses that address the actual issue I asked about, and for the case listed above, that was very helpful and I appreciate it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,515

    Default Re: Alimony Recipient's Recent Inheritance

    You got a clear and direct answer to the only question in your post (she can claim anything she wants). There's another sentence that ends with a question mark, but it isn't really a question. If your intent was to ask whether the statement you made was accurate, I would say it's mostly accurate.

    You did NOT ask for an evaluation of your ex's chances of successfully opposing a motion by you to eliminate alimony. Had you asked that question, the only appropriate response would have been that, based on the limited info in your post, YOUR chances of succeeding seem better than hers, but only a local attorney with full knowledge of the relevant facts can give you a reliable opinion. In the context of your situation, about the best that anonymous strangers on the internet can do for you is opine about whether you should take the time to confer with an attorney or not even waste your time.

    P.S. Neither of the two comments responding to your comment about the purported "corruption" of the local court system were even remotely snarky.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    14

    Default Re: Alimony Recipient's Recent Inheritance

    Understood, sir/ma'am. Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,040

    Default Re: Alimony Recipient's Recent Inheritance

    Quote Quoting fluser
    View Post
    Thank you for your response. And yes, fear is a great emasculator, and so is the corrupt family court system in one of the most corrupt counties in the country. I already tried to prove that she had no need for alimony 10 years ago after her income tripled following the divorce - the judge said NOPE, then charged me with $25,000 in her attorney fees for filing a "frivolous" claim, on top of my own fees. So $50,000 later, yes, I am fearful of the family court and judges who have the discretion to decide whatever they want, pretty much, regardless of the facts. Thanks.
    You're preaching to the choir. I've been burned by one of those "hanging" judges myself. No need to second guess your last go round, here's some good news.

    In the Wiesenfeld case the trial court terminated the alimony and the ex-spouse appealed. The Court of Appeals upheld the termination, citing several prior appellate decisions that upheld the termination of alimony as a result of an ex spouse's inheritance.

    The only thing the court had an issue with was the retroactive date of the termination, making it clear that the date should have been the date that the ex-spouse received the inheritance and not the earlier date of the petition.

    Retroactive means that, whatever the date of the ruling, she has to pay you back any alimony collected from the date she received the inheritance.

    Read the decision. There are links to the earlier decisions if you are interested.

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar_c...en&as_sdt=4,10

    I don't give legal advice, I just make helpful comments. You act on them at your own risk.

    My first suggestion is that you check the probate files (if any) of both her parents to at least get the date that she received the first inheritance. Unfortunately, if there was a trust instead of probate you'd only be able to get that information through discovery when you go back to court for the modification.

    One option is to send her a copy of the Weisenfeld decision and ask her to voluntarily terminate the alimony now, by stipulation filed with the court, advising of your willingness to file in court immediately if she doesn't agree.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Alimony Recipient's Recent Inheritance

    adjusterjack - thank you so much for the detailed answer! I read the Wiesenfeld case you mentioned, thanks! The ex received the first inheritance this past October 2018 but I do not know exactly how much she received, though I am pretty sure it was in hundreds of thousands, as I mentioned above. I guess my only hesitation as far as filing immediately is that the court might determine that whatever she already received from her mother's trust (yes, that was a trust) is not *enough* to terminate the alimony and that since her father's estate is still not settled and assets distributed, my petition might be denied. So my dilemma is whether to file now or wait until her father's estate is settled and she receives everything, as I am pretty confident that I would have an excellent case...Thank you for your comment!

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