Mosbarger v. Mosbarger

547 So. 2d 188 (1989)

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Mosbarger v. Mosbarger

Florida District Court of Appeal
547 So. 2d 188 (1989)

Facts

In 1959, Carol Mosbarger (defendant) married Richard Mosbarger (plaintiff), who was serving in the air force. In 1973, Richard completed his service and started working for a private corporation. Carol struggled with her physical and mental health throughout the marriage and performed clerical work from time to time. At the end of the marriage in 1987, Richard’s income including his military pension was about $50,000 per year, compared to Carol’s income of about $8,500 per year. After Richard told Carol that he was divorcing her, Carol attempted suicide twice and was hospitalized for a few months for depression. After her release from the hospital, Carol went to Richard’s workplace, saw Richard with another woman, lost all reason, and attempted to shoot Richard. Carol was charged with attempted murder and, after a long hospitalization for depression, pled guilty to attempted second-degree murder and was sentenced to five years of probation, counseling, and community control. At the final divorce hearing, it was established that Carol’s mental-health struggles would prevent her from working during the year of probation and would limit her future employment opportunities. The trial court awarded Richard a larger share of the marital estate, along with his entire private and military pensions. The trial court assigned to Carol more than $28,000 of debt for medical bills and attorney’s fees. The trial court ordered Richard to pay the remaining $2,400 of Carol’s attorney’s fees and $500 per month in permanent periodic alimony. In calculating alimony, the trial court imputed one year of income to Carol for her year of probation and counseling, reasoning that Carol was to blame for being on probation instead of working. Carol’s needs exceeded $1,000 per month, and her share of the marital estate was not enough to cover her debt. Carol appealed, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in distributing the marital estate, assigning attorney’s fees, and ordering alimony.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Altenbernd, J.)

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