DAVID J. NUGENT, Appellant,
JOY E. NUGENT, Appellee.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
from the Circuit Court for Volusia County, Elizabeth A.
Theodore R. Doran and Carol Yoon, of Doran, Sims Wolfe &
Ciocchetti, Daytona Beach, for Appellant.
Stefanec Briggs, of Adams, Briggs and Briggs, Daytona Beach,
Nugent ("Former Husband") appeals the final
judgment dissolving his marriage to Joy Nugent ("Former
Wife"). Former Husband also appeals the order awarding
attorney's fees and costs to Former Wife. We affirm in
part, reverse in part, and remand for the trial court to
readdress the equitable distribution of the parties'
parties were married for over nine years; they had no
children together. Former Husband worked throughout the
marriage as an auto-body technician. Former Wife worked
sporadically during the marriage but has not been employed
since 2007. She testified that she is unable to work because
of health issues. Former Wife testified that she planned to
move to Arkansas where she would live in her elderly
mother's home in order to save on rent, but that she
needed money to facilitate the move, including funds to rent
a moving truck, money for fuel, and new tires and brakes for
her car. She also testified that she was in need of new
glasses and dental services.
parties stipulated that Former Husband would retain his
non-marital assets, which totaled slightly over $90, 000. The
parties also stipulated that the marital home was devoid of
equity. However, the parties disputed the valuation of other
marital assets, such as Former Wife's automobile, Former
Husband's motorcycle, personal property within the home,
and a bank account in Former Husband's name. The former
couple also had liabilities from consumer credit cards and
outstanding medical bills that totaled approximately $28,
court distributed the parties' marital assets, largely
making each party responsible for their respective assets and
liabilities, and awarded the marital home to Former Husband.
The trial court awarded Former Wife $750 per month in
durational alimony for seven years. Former Wife was also
awarded a $2500 lump-sum payment of bridge-the-gap
alimony. The court subsequently granted Former
Wife's request for attorney's fees and costs. This
Husband first argues that the trial court erred in awarding
alimony to Former Wife. We review a trial court's ruling
on alimony for abuse of discretion. See Duke v.
Duke, 211 So.3d 1078, 1080 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017).
Durational alimony is available "to provide a party with
economic assistance for a set period of time following a
marriage of short or moderate duration." §
61.08(7), Fla. Stat. (2015). "Bridge-the-gap"
alimony is awarded "to assist a party by providing
support to allow the party to make a transition from being
married to being single." Id. § 61.08(5).
Before awarding alimony, the court must make a finding
regarding each party's need for alimony and the other
party's ability to pay. Id. § 61.08(2). The
court must also consider the factors outlined in subsections
trial court found that "after considering all of the
factors of Section 61.08, "Former Wife had a need for
alimony and Former Husband had the ability to pay. The court
pointed out that Former Husband's income was $52, 896,
while Former Wife had been unemployed for many years. The
court imputed annual part-time income to Former Wife at $10
per hour, although the court did not provide a dollar amount
for the total. The court also noted that Former Husband had
significantly more non-marital assets than Former Wife, the
preferential tax treatment he would receive on his alimony
payments, his savings on health insurance premiums by no
longer providing coverage for Former Wife, and the additional
expense Former Wife would incur by paying for her own health
insurance. Regarding the $2500 lump-sum payment of
bridge-the-gap alimony, the court found that based on his
non-marital assets, Former Husband had the ability to pay and
Former Wife was in need of support to assist with her
immediate dental, vision, and vehicle needs prior to her move
Husband first challenges the lump-sum payment of $2500 to
Former Wife. However, the trial court's findings are
sufficient to support the award. Former Wife's expenses
are precisely the type that the statute contemplates. See
id. § 61.08(5) ("Bridge-the-gap alimony may be
awarded to assist a party by providing support to allow the
party to make a transition from being married to being
single. . . . [It] is designed to assist a party with
legitimate identifiable short-term needs . . . .").
the durational alimony award, it is undisputed that Former
Wife never worked full-time for longer than a few months
during the marriage and never earned more than $9000 per
year. Beyond the brief periods in 2007 and 2013 when Former
Wife worked full-time, no evidence supported imputing a
full-time wage to Former Wife as advocated by Former Husband.
Although the trial court mistakenly found that Former Wife
had not worked full-time since 1999, the record supports the
more important finding-that Former Wife is not capable of
full-time work. Based on the evidence and findings as to
Former Husband's income and assets, the trial court did
not abuse its discretion in finding that Former Husband has
the ability to pay durational alimony of $750 per month.
Husband next argues that the trial court erred in the
equitable distribution of the parties' assets. This Court
reviews orders on equitable distribution for abuse of
discretion. Coleman v. Bland, 187 So.3d 298, 299
(Fla. 5th DCA 2016). Former Wife concedes that the equitable
distribution award contains numerous valuation errors. She
acknowledges that the proper calculation for the distribution
of marital assets would leave her with approximately $1314
more than Former Husband. While the parties stipulated to the
values of many marital assets, the parties did not stipulate
to an unequal distribution. Therefore, we decline to treat
the trial court's calculation errors as de
minimis.See Packo v. Packo, 120 So.3d
232, 234 (Fla. 5th DCA 2013) ("Without proper valuation
of the marital assets, this Court is unable to meaningfully
review the ...