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Nangle v. Nangle

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

December 18, 2019

THOMAS NANGLE, Appellant,
v.
MARY NANGLE, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Martin County; Michael McNicholas, Judge; L.T. Case No. 432006DR000169.

          Siobhan Helene Shea of Sheappeals PLLC, Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Nicholas M. Gieseler and Steven Geoffrey Gieseler of Gieseler & Gieseler P.A., Stuart, for appellee.

          May, J.

         The former husband appeals an order denying his motion to modify or terminate alimony. He makes several arguments, including that the trial court erred in failing to consider and address the former husband's ability to pay and the former wife's need. We agree with him on this issue, and reverse and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         The parties' marriage was dissolved in 2008. The former husband was 67 at the time; the former wife was 48. The former husband owned a 45 percent interest in a company he created during the marriage. He worked there and ultimately received redemption payments for his stock in the company.

         The court determined the former husband's total gross and net monthly income. Due to unpaid taxes, the IRS garnished all but $2, 917.84 of his net monthly income. The trial court found that during the parties' marriage, the former wife was primarily a homemaker and caregiver for the parties' children.

         The court found the marriage to be long-term for which permanent alimony was appropriate. The former husband did not contest that finding. However, due to the IRS' garnishment, the former husband's monthly income did not provide him with the ability to pay.

         The trial court entered the dissolution judgment, reserving jurisdiction to determine alimony after payment of the outstanding IRS debt. The court subsequently amended the final judgment to correct a scrivener's error, but again reserved jurisdiction to award alimony.

         In 2009, the former wife moved to determine alimony. The court determined that the IRS debt had been satisfied; the former husband had the ability to pay, and the former wife was unemployed and in need of alimony. The court imputed a gross monthly income to her. The court then awarded permanent alimony of $2, 000 per month. Neither party appealed the alimony award.

         In 2017, the now 78-year-old former husband filed a supplemental petition for modification/termination of alimony. He argued there had been a substantial and uncontemplated change in circumstances since the entry of the alimony order. The substantial change was the cessation of monthly redemption payments from his company in April 2015.

         The trial court held a hearing on the petition. The former husband retired in 2009 after the final dissolution judgment, but before alimony was determined. The day he retired, he entered into a redemption agreement in which the company agreed to pay him for his stock. Those payments allowed him to make alimony payments in accordance with the alimony award, but they had come to an end.

         The former husband testified that now his only sources of income were his pension, social security, and a modest amount in monthly interest and dividends. After paying ...


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