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Mackoul v. Mackoul

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

August 28, 2017

LISA O. MACKOUL, Appellant,
v.
CAROL MACKOUL, Personal Representative of the ESTATE OF VICTOR P. MACKOUL, Appellee.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED

         An appeal from the Circuit Court for Duval County. John Guy, Judge.

          Suzanne C. Quinonez of the Law Office of Suzanne C. Quinonez, P.A., Middleburg, for Appellant.

          Michael L. Edwards, Jacksonville, for Appellee.

          PER CURIAM.

         Lisa O. 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.

         I.

         The 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.

         Mr. 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.

         On 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.

         Approximately 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 ...


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