Homestead Protection Against Collection of Alimony
The Florida homestead exemption defeats almost all creditors, but there are narrow exceptions (IRS debt being the most common). Occasionally, people ask whether an ex-spouse can force the sale of or impose a lien on a homestead to enforce the collection of past-due alimony.
This issue was discussed in the case of Robles v. Robles, 860 So 2d 1014 (Fla. Dist. 3 2003). This appellate court decision said that the general rule is that an ex-spouse may not impose a lien on a homestead property to collect alimony. There are exceptions where the party owing the alimony is found to have engaged in affirmative fraudulent or reprehensible conduct which interfered with the spouse’s ability to collect the alimony award.
Some examples of such conduct are where a husband was found in contempt of court multiple times and would only pay alimony if subject to incarceration or when a husband purchased the homestead subsequent to divorce and lived there with and supported a girlfriend. In such instances, a court may either order the homestead sold to pay alimony or impose an equitable lien on the homestead so that alimony is recovered when the debtor’s homestead is sold.
About the Author
Jon Alper is an expert in asset protection planning for individuals and small businesses.
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