Stephens’ Squibs – September 2013

Alimony:

Kuchera v. Kuchera, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D1881 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013).  Parties agreed to payment which was categorized as lump sum alimony and equitable distribution and was silent as to whether payments were taxable/deductible or not.  Court erred in failing to determine one way or another.

Bruno v. Bruno, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D1864 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013).  Award of 36 months “bridge the gap/durational alimony” after 9 year marriage remanded after trial court failed to make required findings of fact and failed to address disparity in parties’ income.

Appeals:

Card v. Card, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D2015 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2013).  Appeal challenging award of attorneys’ fees dismissed as the order is non-final if amount has not been determined.  Attorney has right to adjudicate charging lien so long as it was filed before the entry of a final judgment.

Lampert-Sacher v. Sacher, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D1939 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013).  Order denying stay affirmed when petitioner failed to demonstrate a likelihood of prevailing on appeal, irreparable harm or a showing stay would be in public interest.

Attorneys’ Fees:

Bradham v. Bradham, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D2009 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013).  Trial court reversed for awarding attorneys’ fees without considering whether they were reasonable.

Equitable Distribution:

Austin v. Austin, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D1954 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013).  Trial court’s emergency order authorizing liquidation of assets to pay mortgage reversed when motion was not verified nor did it provide notice that specific assets would be sold.

Graham v. Graham, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D1869 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013).  Parties were divorced in 1994 and agreed Wife was entitled 10/23 of husband’s 401(K) as of the date of the agreement.  No QDRO’s were entered.  In 2010 wife brought action.  Court awarded her $18k as portion of 401(K) account which represented 10.23 of value from 1994.  This was error as the reference date was to identify what was in the account.  The phrase ½ of the 401(k) describes a one-half interest in the 401(k) account itself.  If the parties wanted to agree on a specific amount, they could have done so.

Packo v. Packo, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D1861 (Fla. 5th DCA 2013).  Final Judgment that lacked requisite valuation for marital home and other properties reversed because trial court failed to comply with F.S.  61.075(3).  Because of no findings of value, appellate court is unable to engage in meaningful review.

Income:                   

Cash v. Cash, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D2016 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2013).  Error not to impute income to wife when record supported imputation.  Error to include husband’s non-recurring income for purposes of determining support.

Life Insurance:

Packo v. Packo, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D1861 (Fla. 5th DCA 2013).  Trial court’s requirement for husband to insure his support with $500,000 death benefit reversed because judgment lacked findings regarding the availability and cost of insurance, obligor’s ability to pay and special circumstances that warrant requirement of security for the obligation.

Modification:

Kofler v. Tarkow, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D1827 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2013).  Final judgment modifying alimony from $6,000 to $1,294.06 remanded because Court failed to take into account income taxes and Court used outdated income figures for former wife.

Procedure:

In Re: Amendments to Family Law Forms, 38 Fla.L.Weekly S617 (Fla. 2013).  Amended forms for final judgment and MSA to recognize when F.S. 732.703(3)-(4) does not apply.  F.S. 732.703(3)-(4) provides that a designation on behalf of decedent for payment or a transfer at death of an asset to decedent’s former spouse is void except under certain circumstances.  

Support:

Cash v. Cash, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D2016 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2013).  Error to deviate from guidelines by 5% when neither order nor record indicates court considered statutory findings of fact.  Additional error to deviate another 5% for limited timesharing.

Caudill-Rosa v. Rosa, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D1969 (Fla. 2n DCA 2013).  Trial court erred in deviating from child support guidelines by more than 5% without written findings.

 

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