Stephens’ Squibs – December 2014

Agreements:

Geraci v. Geraci, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2582 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2014).  Trial court affirmed for concluding over life of marriage effected an abandonment of the antenuptial agreement.  The law of the 2nd DCA has long recognized abandonment is a factual possibility.  See McMullen, 85 S.2d 191 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1966).

Elias v. Elias, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2495 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014).  Trial court reversed for determining separation date was filing date when prenuptial agreement clearly provides separation is “when parties become legally separate pursuant to judicial proceedings or an agreement.”  Florida has no legal status for separation and court erred because agreement was not unambiguous.

Alimony:

Diaz v. Diaz, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2525 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2014).  Order awarding durational alimony for 48 months when marriage lasted 40 months reversed as it exceeded length of marriage. Error was on face of judgment.  Award of durational alimony cannot exceed length of marriage ever with exceptional circumstances.

Attorneys’ Fees:

Coleman v. Bland, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2526 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014).  Trial court order that failed to specify whether $5,000 award was for appellate fees or post mandate trial fees, appellate court precluded from meaningful review.

Domestic Violence:

Carrozza v. Stowers, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2585 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2014).  Trial court erect in denying motion to dissolve injunction due to “serious nature of underlying allegations” without an evidentiary hearing.

Equitable Distribution:

Winder v. Winder, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2587 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014).  Error to charge accounts depleted during pendency of divorce to a party when it was used for payment of living expenses, temporary alimony, and both parties’ health insurance premiums without finding of waste or misconduct.

Porter v. Porter, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2580 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2014).  Trial court erred by not enforcing stipulation regarding property distribution parties made during trial.

Walczak v. Walczak, 39 FL D2526 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014). Entire property distribution set aside due to numerous errors.

Enforcement:

Williams v. Williams, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2490 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014).  Trial court’s order on contempt because husband filed to obtain life insurance, pay off a credit card, and pay alimony arrears as husband did not rebut presumption.  Former husband cannot complain there is no finding of ability in judgment and issue not raised on rehearing.  Order on fees reversed because no findings of need and ability in order.

Ford v. Ford, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2463 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014).  Trial court affirmed for finding former wife in contempt for violating parenting plan when former wife failed to bring children for visitation for months as required and scheduled social events for children during former husband’s timesharing.  Requirement former wife attends therapy until she can convince children to have a loving relationship with their father overturned as too broad.

Miscellaneous:

Clayton v. Clayton, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2530 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014).  Trial court erred by attaching erroneous support guidelines, failed to state reduction in support when one child emancipates, property was not distributed and parenting plan incomplete.

Parenting:

Assimenios v. Assimenios, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2598 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014).  Provision in parenting plan making wife responsible for future missed medical appointments as it operates as an automatic sanction without opportunity to be heard.

Brummer v. Brummer, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2570 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014).  Trial court erred by requiring psychological evaluation of parties and children at husband’s expense before timesharing when no finding husband could afford or evaluations were in children’s best interests.

Procedure:

In re: Amendments to Family Laws of Procedure, 30 Fla. Law Weekly 5775 (Fla. 2014).  Creates rule 12.012 (minimization of sensitive information which requires compliance with Fl. R. Jud. Admin. Rule 2.425.  Amends 12.070 (process) concerning constructive process.  Amends 12.200 (case management) for consideration of agreements, objections, or form of production of electronically stored information.  Adopts new rules 12.364 (social investigations) to address social investigations under 61.20.  Amends 12.490 (general magistrate) to require appointment of specific magistrate.

Jonas v. Jonas, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2545 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014).  Trial court did not err dismissing former husband’s claim for relief based on principles of comity and priority.

Lieberman v. Lieberman, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2457 (Fla 4th DCA 2014).  Order disqualifying husband’s attorney who was husband’s current wife because she was a material witness at a contempt hearing was overbroad as it disqualified attorney from entire case when law provides she could not be attorney at contempt hearing.  Wife sanctioned with attorney’s fees because of wife’s failure to acknowledge clear and unambiguous law turned “simple” matter into an unnecessary and protracted matter.

Support:

Van Exter v. Diodonet-Molina, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D2476 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2014).  Trial court’s order of support and arrears reversed when no findings of fact as to income and deductions or how arrears were calculated.  Error to award mother attorney’s fees with no findings of ability to pay.

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