Does “Presumption” Play a Part in Awarding Alimony in a Short-Term Marriage?
Sometimes the law uses big words to define a legal situation. Such is the case with the word “presumption,” a word not commonly used. The words assume and presume, however, are frequently used and are helpful in understanding the word “presumption.” If you presume or assume something to be true or false, you base your decision on thoughts and ideas not necessarily yet proven to be fact. For example, you might presume it is cold outside, and you need to wear a coat as the furnace is running and yesterday it was cold outside. You may or may not be right in this determination as it may have warmed up outside overnight, and yet the house is still cold and needing heat. Your decision to wear a coat before actually going outside to check on the weather is termed a presumption. You are assuming that it is presuming it is cold outside without facts to back up your decision.
Using the word “presumption” in a legal sense requires a legal definition. According to Upcouncel, an online legal reference, presumption is “A fact assumed to be true under the law.” Upcouncel further states, “Presumptions are used to relieve a party from having to prove the truth of the fact being presumed,” When a party uses presumption as part of their case, the other party must provide what is called rebuttal evidence to prove the presumption is incorrect. Without a rebuttal, a case outcome will not be changed in an appeal.
In Florida, alimony can be awarded for six conditions, temporary, permanent, durational, bridge-the-gap, lump sum, and rehabilitative. However, it is important to understand that a party cannot presume he or she will be awarded alimony and then have the alimony awarded. A judge must consider many factors before deciding if there should be an award of alimony and if so, what type, to whom, how much, and for how long. You can read about the factors determining alimony online under Florida Statute 61.06. The so-called failure of presumption of alimony for a short-term marriage in Florida was demonstrated on May 22, 2019, in the outcome of the case of King verses King on an appeal in the District Court of Appeals of Florida 2nd District. In brief (you can read the entire opinion online by Googling King V King, 273 So. 3d 233 (Fla 2d DCA 2019), this case involved a wife of five years who was denied alimony and took her concerns to an appeal court. The wife had presumed she should receive alimony, but unfortunately, the wife did not offer a rebuttal to prove her presumption at the original hearing. This meant her presumption could not be considered at the appeal hearing, and the judge was correct in not awarding her alimony.
The whole nature of presumption when it comes to alimony should be thoroughly discussed with your attorney. Facts always speak louder than words, and a judge wants facts first and then words later. If you are a resident of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough Counties in Florida or New York or Washington DC, Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondo can answer your questions regarding legal presumption involving alimony in a divorce. Attorney Gisondo has been successfully practicing Family Law for over a decade. He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where he can answer questions and share how he can help you with your legal needs. Please call his office at (561) 530-4568 for an appointment. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM and, for new clients, on Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM.