Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fourth District Reverses Repeat Violence Injunction

The Fourth District Court released an opinion today in Tiger v. Marcus reversing the lower court's granting of an injunction against repeat violence on the grounds that only a single act of violence was shown. The Court specifically found that despite a second instance of a threat of violence, in the absence of an overt act leading the petitioner to feel a reasonable imminent fear of violence on that occasion, repeat violence had not been shown.

Fourth District Court Reverses Fee Award

The Fourth District Court today reversed the lower tribunal's ruling in Herbst v. Herbst, citing Rosen v. Rosen, 696 So.2d 697 (Fla. 1997) for the proposition that a former spouse cannot be ordered to pay 75% of their former spouse's fees where the parties have roughly the same disposable income. The Court was careful to narrow its ruling to the 75% awarded, as a small percentage of fees may have been justified, but 75% clearly was not.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fifth District Rejects Final Judgment Commemorating Unwritten, Unrecorded Settlement

The Fifth District Court of Appeal last week issued its opinion in Saunders v. Saunders, holding that the lower tribunal's Final Judgment had to be reversed in that it commemorated a settlement agreement which was neither written nor recited on the record, and which instead was only reflected in the Court's minutes. As such, the Court found that the Final Judgment was based on facts neither stipulated nor supported by evidence, and therefore could not stand. The Fifth District largely relied on the very similar facts of Olson v. Olson, 704 So. 2d 208 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998), which had the same result.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fourth District Court Affirms, But Explains, in Cohen v. Cohen

The Fourth District released an opinion today in Cohen v. Cohen in which they affirmed the lower court's ruling but offered detailed explanations as to several issues. First, they found no abuse of discretion in the lower tribunal's denial of motions seeking to amend and for continuance based on claims of concealed assets where over 16,000 pages had previously been produced in response to 14 requests for production and no evidence suggested concealment during four days of trial. The Fourth District also found no error in the trial court's belief that the Husband's accountant was the more credible, evidently largely because of the Husband's testimony, found credible, that no interspousal gift was intended when a business account was titled jointly, and the Wife's apparent unwillingness to accept certain assets at the values put forward by her own expert accountant. And, finally, the Court approved of the trial court's denial of bridge-the-gap alimony based on the long period of separation prior to trial, the lack of evidence that the Wife could meet short-term needs without bridge-the-gap alimony, and the lack of evidence found as to the Wife's efforts or intention to seek employment in the future.

Fourth District Court Approves Rental Credits After Exclusive Possession Ends

The Fourth District Court today reversed in Weiner v. Weiner, holding that despite the long standing rule that a party receives no credit or setoff for half of the rental value in a property the other party has been granted exclusive possession of, nothing precludes the receipt of such a credit for that party's use of the property after the period of exclusive possession has ended.

4th DCA Reverses Again in Posner v. Posner

The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled today in Posner v. Posner, again reversing the lower court in this dissolution of marriage action. Specifically, the Court found error in the lower court's attribution of a non-marital credit card debt of the Wife to the Husband, and reversed a payment schedule that permitted the Wife to pay off equitable distribution over a 71 year period. The Court specifically found abuse of discretion in requiring the Husband to do without the majority of marital assets for the rest of his life. At the same time, however, the Fourth District affirmed the imputation of $1,400.00 in monthly income pursuant to F.S. §61.30, as a result of his living rent-free in a home provided by his parents. The Court found that although such payments are usually from an employer, nothing in the statute precludes the inclusion in income of any in-kind payment or reimbursement that reduces living expenses.

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