FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Collier County; Mary C. Evans,
Allison M. Perry of Florida Appeals, P.A., Tampa; and Cary A.
Cliff of Cary Alan Cliff, P.A., Naples, for Appellant.
Cynthia L. Greene of Cynthia L. Greene, P.A., of counsel,
Young, Berman, Karpf & Gonzalez, P.A., Miami; and Jeffrey
C. Quinn, Naples, for Appellee.
Gudur (the Former Husband) appeals an amended final judgment
of dissolution of marriage (the Judgment). He challenges the
equitable distribution, the alimony that Kavitha Gudur (the
Former Wife) was ordered to pay, and the denial of his
request for an award of attorney's fees, raising five
issues. We affirm to the extent that the Judgment dissolves
the parties' marriage. We also affirm regarding the
Former Husband's debt to Deloitte and Touche because the
Former Husband has shown no entitlement to relief. However,
we reverse the equitable distribution and remand for the
trial court to reconsider the distribution of the Former
Wife's interest in a medical building and the Former
Husband's student loans incurred during the marriage.
After the trial court reconsiders the equitable distribution,
it must also reconsider the alimony award to the Former
Husband and his request for attorney's fees.
parties were married in January 1998. They have one daughter
who was a minor at the time of trial but who has since
reached the age of majority. The Former Wife filed the
petition for dissolution of marriage on October 10, 2012.
Their marriage of over fourteen years is of moderate
duration. See § 61.08(4), Fla. Stat. (2012). At
the time of trial, the Former Wife was forty-six years old,
and the Former Husband was sixty years old.
Former Wife was a medical student and moved to the United
States from India after the parties married. They lived in
Houston, Texas, where the Former Husband was working and
attending law school. In 2000, after the Former Husband was
fired from his job, the parties moved to Brooklyn, New York,
for the Former Wife to complete her internal medicine
residency. During the period of 2000-2003, the Former Husband
did not work continuously and was unemployed for about
eighteen months. After the Former Wife completed her
residency, the parties moved to Florida.
Former Wife practiced as an internist with the Naples Medical
Center. She has a 6.4% ownership interest in Naples Medical
& Professional Center, Inc., which owns the building that
formerly housed the Naples Medical Center. By the time of
trial, the Former Wife was working for herself at Wellness
Dimensions, LLC, and at a chemical dependency rehabilitation
facility. Based on the evidence presented, including her
expert's testimony, the trial court determined that her
gross monthly income was $31, 600 per month. Her net monthly
income, as shown on the child support guidelines worksheet,
was $17, 322.22.
Former Husband had an MBA degree when the parties married,
and he completed law school in July 1999. When the parties
moved to Florida, he first worked as an attorney for the
Florida Department of Health. Later, he obtained employment
as an assistant public defender in Naples. He worked there
for seven and a half years until he resigned in September
2011. The Former Husband had taught college classes as an
adjunct in the past, and he entered a Ph.D. program so that
he could work as a professor. He was terminated from the
Ph.D. program in 2013. The Former Husband remained unemployed
at the time the trial concluded in November 2015.
Former Husband was making close to $50, 000 per year when he
left his employment as an assistant public defender. At
trial, the Former Wife presented a vocational rehabilitation
and career counselor who evaluated the Former Husband and
testified regarding the Former Husband's job search and
trial court ordered an equitable distribution that awarded
each party $361, 194. The court did not find the Former
Husband's testimony regarding his job search credible and
imputed income of $3000 per month to the Former Husband. The
court awarded to the Former Husband durational alimony for
seven years of $5000 per month and denied the Former
Husband's request for attorney's fees.
trial court made an equitable distribution that awarded $361,
194 to each party. Thus, in accordance with the premise of
section 61.075(1), the trial court sought to equally
distribute the marital assets and liabilities. We conduct a
de novo review of the "trial court's
characterization of an asset as marital or nonmarital"
but review for competent substantial evidence the
"factual findings necessary to make this legal
conclusion." Dravis v. Dravis, 170 So.3d 849,
852 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015). We also review the trial court's
valuation of marital assets for competent substantial
evidence to support the valuation. Id. at 853. The
trial court's distribution of the marital assets and
liabilities is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.
Cooley v. Cooley, 253 So.3d 1223, 1226 ...