Family Law Case Updates – January 2015


Panopoulis v. Panopoulis, 155 So.3d 1230 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2015).  An amended final judgment that corrects a scriveneor’s error does not toll the time for appeal.

Burkett v. Burkett, 155 So.3d 478 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015).  Even though court erred by failing to make required findings, party waived issue on appeal by not seeking rehearing.

Attorneys’ Fees:

Wiesenthal v. Wiesenthal, 154 So.3d 484 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015).  Order awarding $18,000 in fees reversed for lack of findings on need and ability to pay.


Wiesenthal v. Wiesenthal, 154 So.3d 484 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015).  Order of civil contempt reversed when husband gave his new business to his girlfriend and therefore lacked ability to comply with the court’s order.  Criminal contempt is appropriate enforcement method when a person intentionally divests themselves of the ability to comply with a court order.

Equitable Distribution:

McDuffie v. McDuffie, 155 So.3d 1234 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015).  Judgment reversed for trial court to delineate system and method of paying joint credit card debt.

Caine v. Caine, 152 So.3d 860 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014).  Trial court failed to address the factors enumerated in 61.077 to determine whether husband is entitled to setoff or credit regarding the wife’s occupancy of marital residence.


McDuffie v. McDuffie, 155 So.3d 1234 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015).  Order imputing income reversed when record lacked evidence of job market, work history, occupational qualifications, and prevailing earnings in the community.

Cameron v. Cameron, 154 So.3d 1230 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015).  Trial court’s decision to delay imputing income to wife for six months reversed as it was not supported by competent evidence.


Laserinko v. Gerhardt, 154 So.3d 520 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015).  Injunction against stalking reversed when only one incident of harassment that would cause person emotional distress.


Perez v. Fay, 160 So.3d 459 (Fla. 2nd 2015).  Modification awarding sole parental responsibility reversed when not requested in the pleadings or tried by consent.  Restrictions on timesharing reversed when no evidence restrictions were in the best interest of the children.

Jarrard v. Jarrard, 157 So.3d 332 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2015).  Trial court erred in denying modification of alimony for lack of permanency when former husband’s income was reduced for two years.

Ervin v. Florida Dept. of Revenue, 152 So.3d 1261 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014).  Error to modify child support based upon an equitable and subjective standpoint as opposed to child support guidelines.

Wood v. Wood, 162 So.3d 133 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014).  Trial court erred modifying child support from $5,000 to zero and not applying guidelines.  Also error to eliminate support arrears without explanation.


B.W.P. v. A.L.H., 155 So.3d 1229 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2015).  Trial court affirmed for dismissing paternity action for sperm donor even in absence of written agreement because sperm donor has no parental rights per 742.14, Florida Statutes.


Lamb v. Lamb, 154 So.3d 465 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015).  Interesting procedure case where court reversed for striking husband’s pleadings.

In Re: Amendments to Family Law Rules of Procedure, 156 So.3d 493 (Fla. 2015).  Creates rule 12.451 which allows video testimony at hearing by consent or good cause.

Same Sex Marriage:

Oliver v. Stufflebeam, 155 So.3d 395 (Fla 3rd DCA 2014).  Order dismissing same sex divorce affirmed.  Parties did not challenge constitutionality of prohibition.  Instead they argued prohibition applied to getting married, not divorced.  Novel argument rejected.


Valdes v. Valdes, 154 So.3d 1165 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2015).  Trial court made mathematical error in calculating child support for two children with different timesharing schedules.

Gimeno v. Rivera, 153 So.3d 390 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2014).  Trial court reversed for downward modification of the presence of subsequent children will not justify a deviation from the guidelines.

Temporary Relief:

Topel v. Topel, 152 So.3d 863 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014).  Trial court’s temporary relief order reversed when award exceeded uncontroverted evidence of husband’s ability to pay.

DSC_1124Eddie Stephens is a partner in Ward Damon located in West Palm Beach, FL. Mr. Stephens was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1997 and is Board Certified in Family and Marital Law.  After starting his career as an attorney for the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office, Stephens has developed a successful family law practice focused on highly disputed divorces. Through hundreds of hearings and dozens of trials, Stephens has honed his practice by making straightforward arguments that bring opposing sides closer together in order to find a successful resolution.

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