final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Valerie
R. Manno-Schurr, Judge. Lower Tribunal No. 15-14365
Abramowitz and Associates, and Jordan B. Abramowitz, for
Perez-Abreu & Martin-Lavielle, P.A., and Andy W. Acosta
and Javier Perez-Abreu, for appellee.
FERNANDEZ, LOGUE, and SCALES, JJ.
Brenda Molina, (the "Wife") seeks review of the
Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage to Appellee, Melvin
Perez, (the "Husband") which granted the Wife
durational alimony for fifteen years, but denied the Wife
permanent alimony. The couple had been married for twenty
years, since he was 22 and she was 20 years old. Their
marriage followed traditional lines: he worked outside the
home full time as a financial advisor and she worked at home
full time as a homemaker, raising their three children.
a bench trial, the court entered a final judgment that
properly recognized the marriage had been long-term, and,
therefore, a rebuttable presumption existed in favor of an
award of permanent alimony. See Dickson v. Dickson,
204 So.3d 498, 502 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016). The trial court found
that the Wife had a need for $38, 400 per year in alimony and
the Husband, with an income of $145, 388, had the ability to
provide it. But the trial court awarded only durational
alimony for fifteen years.
trial court found the Husband had overcome the presumption of
permanent alimony because "[a]s set forth by the
Husband's vocational expert's report and deposition
testimony, the Wife is capable of increasing her income over
time with reasonable effort on her part." However, the
vocational expert's report appears nowhere in the record.
Similarly, the vocational expert's deposition, while in
the court file, was never marked as a trial exhibit, moved
into evidence, or admitted into evidence by stipulation or
these circumstances, it was error to award the Wife
durational alimony instead of permanent periodic alimony.
Because there was no substantial competent evidence that the
Wife's ability to earn income would increase after
fifteen years, the Husband failed to rebut the presumption in
favor of permanent alimony. Alcantara v. Alcantara,
15 So.3d 844 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009) (reversing denial of
permanent alimony based on speculation that wife's income
may increase if she returned to her home state). See
Gilliland v. Gilliland, 266 So.3d 866, 868-69 (Fla. 5th
DCA 2019) (reversing denial of permanent alimony because
there was no evidence wife's income would increase in the
future); Griffitts v. Griffitts, 263 So.3d 220,
220-21 (Fla. 5th DCA 2019) (same); Hedden v. Hedden,
240 So.3d 148, 151-52 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018) (same); Stark
v. Stark, 192 So.3d 632, 632-33 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016)
(same); Winn v. Winn, 669 So.2d 1155, 1157 (Fla. 5th
DCA 1996) (same).
reverse and remand with instructions for the trial court to
enter an amended final judgment that classifies the
Husband's alimony payment as permanent, not durational.
In so ruling, we do not foreclosure the Husband from seeking
modification or termination of the alimony if there is a
substantial change in circumstances. Purin v. Purin,
158 So.3d 752, 753-54 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015) (explaining that the
happening of a future event "allows the trial court,
upon proper motion, to revisit the parties' respective
needs and ability to pay" (citing Suarez v.
Sanchez, 43 So.3d 118 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010))); see
§§ 61.08(8), 61.14, Fla. Stat.