LISA O. MACKOUL, Appellant,
CAROL MACKOUL, Personal Representative of the ESTATE OF VICTOR P. MACKOUL, Appellee.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
appeal from the Circuit Court for Duval County. John Guy,
Suzanne C. Quinonez of the Law Office of Suzanne C. Quinonez,
P.A., Middleburg, for Appellant.
Michael L. Edwards, Jacksonville, for Appellee.
Mackoul challenges the trial court's order dissolving a
lien imposed on real property belonging to her now-deceased
ex-husband, Victor P. Mackoul, to secure an award of alimony.
Because the lien was intended to serve as security for an
ongoing stream of payments to Ms. Mackoul to minimize future
economic harm to the surviving family, we reverse and remand
for further proceedings.
Mackouls divorced in 2009. At that time, Mr. Mackoul was
seventy-five years old and Ms. Mackoul was forty-six. The
amended final judgment of dissolution awarded permanent
periodic alimony of $1, 000 to Ms. Mackoul, to be paid on the
first day of each month "until the death of either party
or remarriage of the Wife, whichever shall first occur, at
which time alimony" would cease. To secure the award of
child support and alimony, the judgment imposed liens on
certain premarital real property of Mr. Mackoul.
Mackoul appealed the amended final judgment of dissolution,
challenging the impositions of the liens. See Mackoul v.
Mackoul, 32 So.3d 741, 742 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010). This
Court determined that the record supported the requirement
for such security to the extent necessary to protect the
payment of alimony or child support. We explained as follows:
The Former Husband is 77 years old and in poor health. The
Former Husband is uninsurable but has significant
unencumbered assets that he uses to support himself. The
Former Wife would potentially be left in dire financial
straits after the Former Husband's death because she is
not capable of full-time employment. The Former Wife has
significant medical history resulting in some medical
disability, and both parties agreed that the Former Wife
needs to be home on afternoons and weekends to care for their
youngest child, who has been diagnosed with a form of autism
and cannot be left alone. The child also may remain
[dependent] even after he reaches majority.
Mackoul, 32 So.3d at 743. However, we were unable to
determine whether the amount of the security was
appropriately tailored to the obligation being secured
because the trial court failed to specify "whether, in
the context of alimony, the lien only secures arrearages at
the time of the Former Husband's death or if it was also
intended to secure future payments in order to minimize
future economic harm to the family." Id.
Accordingly, we reversed that portion of the judgment and
remanded for additional findings.
remand, the trial court held a hearing on the issue and
entered an order clarifying the requirement of the security
for alimony and child support (the "Clarifying
Judgment"). The court found that it was
"appropriate that the Final Judgment create[d] a lien on
said real property, in favor of the Former Wife and the
parties' minor children, to secure the award of child
support and alimony." The court noted Mr. Mackoul's
poor health and Ms. Mackoul's thirty-four-year life
expectancy. The Clarifying Judgment states that it was the
court's intention to "secure not only arrearages at
the time of the Former Husband's death, but also to
secure future payments to the Former Wife and minor children
in order to minimize future economic harm to the family"
based on its findings "that the Former Wife and the
parties' minor children [would] be left in dire strai[ts]
if adequate security [were] not required." The court
found, in pertinent part, that "the Former Wife requires
the security in the amount of $250, 000 . . . to secure the
Former Wife's alimony award without incurring any
additional expense and . . . that $150, 000 is the
appropriate amount to secure the future payments of child
support and provide for the minor children's needs."
The Clarifying Judgment was not appealed.
six years later, Mr. Mackoul passed away and his estate moved
to dissolve the lien to secure alimony. Ms. Mackoul countered
with a motion to dismiss. Following a hearing, the court
issued an order granting the motion to dissolve the lien
regarding alimony and denying Ms. Mackoul's motion to
dismiss. In pertinent part, the court found that (1) the
Amended Final Judgment of Dissolution provides that alimony
shall terminate on the death of either party or re-marriage
of Ms. Mackoul, and (2) although the Clarifying Judgment
clearly states that $150, 000 is the appropriate amount to
secure the future payments of child support, it does not
state whether the $250, 000 security for alimony is for
future alimony or to ensure the financial well-being of the
family. The court concluded that as a result of the