Can a divorce court order the payor spouse to purchase life insurance to secure spousal support in Florida? Pursuant to CS/SB 1416: Dissolution of Marriage, in order for a party to receive relief where life insurance is ordered to secure alimony, the court must now “to make specific findings regarding the purchase or maintenance of a life insurance policy or a bond to secure alimony”. This question is further answered in part by the Second District Court of Appeal ((Levy v. Levy, 900 So. 2d 737, 745 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005)), In Levy, the Wife requested the trial court issue an order commanding the Husband to purchase a life insurance policy to secure his future alimony payments to her. The Levy Court, basing its decision on precedent which includes a Florida Supreme Court Case, stated that “Trial courts may require that alimony awards be secured by life insurance on the life of the payor spouse.” § 61.08(3); Sobelman v. Sobelman, 541 So.2d 1153 (Fla.1989); O’Connor v. O’Connor, 782 So.2d 502, 505 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001). The Court’s decision received a second layer to further its distinctiveness. The Court continued, “However, there must be special circumstances that demonstrate a need for such a requirement.” See Solomon v. Solomon, 861 So.2d 1218, 1221 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003); Cozier v. Cozier, 819 So.2d 834, 837 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002); but see Layeni v. Layeni, 843 So.2d 295, 300 n. 2 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003). Call Jacobs Law Firm at 407-335-8113 for answers to your child support, alimony and spousal support questions. Ask us about Florida’s alimony reform 2023.
Furthermore, beyond the fact that a court may (not shall) order life insurance to secure alimony in Florida, in order to justify such a requirement, the court required, “the record should contain evidence of  the payor’s insurability,  the cost of the proposed insurance, and  the payor’s ability to afford the insurance.” Lopez v. Lopez, 780 So.2d 164, 165 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001); see also Cozier, 819 So.2d at 837. Now we know that the question, can a divorce court order the payor spouse to purchase life insurance to secure spousal support in Florida may have at least a three-part inquiry.
Consider a circumstance where a party is ordered to pay alimony in the amount of $250 per month. The payor (person paying) has a gross income of $40,000.00 per year, and expenses totaling $39,500.00 per year not counting the impact of inflation. If there is a limited or narrow ability to pay alimony, then the payor might not meet the demands of the three-part test. This is of course an issue for the attorney’s to present and the judge’s discretion. While maintaining life insurance to secure an award of alimony and spousal support may make practical sense, that does not automatically confer its affordability and feasibility. When you are confronted with a similar circumstance and need answers to your questions such as whether a divorce court may order the payor spouse to purchase life insurance to secure spousal support in Florida, call Orlando Divorce Attorney Jonathan Jacobs at 407-335-8113 for the help you need.