Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Third DCA Overturns “Special Equity” Grant

The Third District Court overturned a lower court’s grant to the Husband of a “special equity” in the parties’ home in Jurasek v. Jurasek, largely because the concept was abolished nearly three years ago.  The Husband had argued that the abolition of special equity, occurring post-filing in that case, did not apply.  The Third District did not rule as to retroactivity, instead finding that an unequal distribution would also have been inappropriate, as the statutory presumption of interspousal gift was not defeated.

Second District Overturns Repeat Violence Injunction

The Second District Court overturned an injunction against repeat violence entered in Jones v. Jackson today, in that the communications on which the order was based would not cause a reasonable person emotional distress, meaning that they were not harassment within the meaning of the relevant statute, F.S. 784.046.

Fourth District Overturns Restriction on DOR’s Power To Intercept Unemployment

The Fourth District Court ruled today in State, DOR ex rel Gomez v. Varela, and the nine other cases consolidated in the same appeal, in so doing overturning the lower court’s rulings which limited the degree to which the Department could intercept unemployment payments, on the basis that it was an unjust restriction on statutory authority provided to the Department.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Florida Family Law Forms Updated and Improved

The Florida Family Law Forms Page has been updated and improved, and now allows a party to fill out many of the forms online, and then save or print them with the information included.  Many more online fill-able forms to follow!

Second District Reverses on Conceded Child Support Error

The Second District Court issued an opinion yesterday in Halawy v. Halawy, reversing a temporary order providing for child support, but failing, evidently, to divide the Husband’s net monthly income by the combined net monthly income, per F.S. 61.30(9).  The Wife conceded the error and the Court reversed.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fifth DCA Affirms Relocation, Reverses Equitable Distribution

The Fifth District Court released its opinion today in Wraight v. Wraight, a case where relocation was sought by the Wife after having moved to the United Kingdom without a relocation order, refusing to dismiss proceedings started in the U.K., and returned to the United States only after an Order compelling her to do so was sought and granted under the Hague Convention.  The lower tribunal found that the Wife had relied on bad legal advice, and as there was evidence supporting the findings made under F.S. 61.13001, the Fifth DCA was required to accept the lower court’s findings, even should they disagree with them.  The same opinion reversed the equitable distribution, however, in that the lower court distributed as marital a pension earned prior to the marriage, finding an interspousal gift was intended by naming the Wife the beneficiary on that account.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Florida Supreme Court Releases New Form

The Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion today slightly modifying and releasing for use a new form, titled a Writ of Bodily Attachment (Child Support), which essentially instructs the Sheriff or other officer receiving a copy to arrest an individual for failing to appear for a hearing, failing to appear before the Court as ordered, or else failing to comply with a previous order of the Court.  It contains its own purge provision, permitting a party to be released on payment, and otherwise requires the individual be brought to hearing within forty-eight hours.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fourth District Rules that Failure to Follow 12.490 is Reversible Error

In Opatz v. Opatz today the Fourth District reversed the lower tribunal’s denial of contempt, in that the referral was made pursuant to Rule 12.490 (Not 12.491) and no report or recommendations were issued and no exceptions allowed.

Fourth District Reverses Modification of Alimony

The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled today in Simpson v. Simpson, in relevant part reversing an abatement of alimony which was retroactively applied to the first day of unemployment when the parties’ agreement called for a 90 day delay in that abatement, and reversing a modification of alimony agreed to be temporary in that the modification was not delineated as permanent or temporary.

Security Deposits Are Not Marital, Rules Fourth DCA

The Fourth District Court affirmed the lower court today on all points in Stroh v. Stroh except one, reversing the inclusion of tenant security deposits in equitable distribution and specifically finding that these monies were not marital assets, and must be held by the party serving as landlord.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First DCA Twice Reverses Unplead Support Modification

The First District Court issued its opinion in DOR ex rel Hill v. Young, issuing a mandate nearly identical to the one issued today in DOR ex rel Weaver v. Fredeking.  In both cases, error was found in the lack of any pleading or notice seeking the modification, despite the inequity of enforcement of the administrative support order in question in each case.

First District Court Reverses Lump Sum Award and Denial of Permanent Periodic Alimony

The First District Court released an opinion today in Sellers v. Sellers in which the lower tribunal was reversed both for denying permanent periodic alimony and for evidently granting lump sum alimony instead in the form of the Husband’s share of the marital home.  No findings were made justifying the lump sum alimony, and after a long term marriage in which the Wife had not worked in fourteen years the Wife appeared to be entitled to permanent periodic alimony.  Both rulings were found to be interrelated, and both were reversed as such.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Relocation Insufficient to Warrant Custody Modification

The First District Court ruled today in Ragle v. Ragle, reversing the lower court’s modification of custody based on the primary parent’s relocation to another county and alleged interference with contact and timesharing, in that neither is sufficient cause to modify, and in that there was no finding that the move would be better for the minor child.

1st District Court Reverses Equitable Distribution and Alimony

In their opinion issued today in Vanzant v. Vanzant, the First District Court of Appeal reversed an Amended Final Judgment issued by the lower court for providing for an unequal distribution of marital assets without explanation, for using gross, rather than net income to determine child support and alimony, for failing to offer an explanation for a business valuation, and for other reasons.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2d DCA Reverses Equitable Distribution, Uncovered Medical Expense Division, and Denial of Fees

The Second District Court of Appeal reversed the ruling below in its opinion in Tummings v. Francois today, finding that the lower tribunal erred in including credit card charges from after the date of filing in the equitable distribution, in dividing uncovered medical expenses according to percentage of overnight timesharing rather than percentage of income available for support, and in denying fees to the Father despite a significant disparity in income.

Past Ability to Pay Not Enough for Criminal Contempt, Says Third District

The Third District Court of Appeal issued an opinion in Keeler v. Keeler today, reversing a lower tribunal’s order holding the Former Husband in indirect criminal contempt for non-payment of support.  The lower tribunal’s ruling was based on the Former Husband’s past ability to pay and contained no separate affirmative finding of present ability to do so, warranting reversal.

Fourth DCA Sets Standards for Enforcement of Unapproved Stipulations

The Fourth District Court ruled today in Comstock v. Comstock, and in part clarified the enforceability of post-judgment agreements of the parties which are not approved by the Court.  In essence a distinction was drawn between agreements affecting child support and custody, which require approval before enforcement, and agreements affecting purely financial issues, which do not.

Equitable Distribution and Alimony Rulings Reversed by Fourth District Court of Appeal

The Fourth District Court issued an opinion today in Bell v. Bell, reversing as to two of the Wife’s three issues on appeal.  In short, the Court found error in the lower tribunal’s failure to include over $600,000.00 in receivables in the equalizing payment due to the Wife, and in that court’s failure to make findings of fact supporting the denial of bridge-the-gap alimony.

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