Family Law Case Updates – July 2016

July Squibs:


Sherlock v. Sherlock, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1601 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Trial court affirmed for denying permanent alimony in long term marriage to 63 year old husband who could not work because he had a broken back from working during marriage.  Husband was receiving 1.3 million in marital assets and 980k in non-marital assets.  While a court should not require a spouse in need to deplete or invade capital assets to maintain standard of living, a court may consider income generated by any asset held by that party.

Dunkel v. Daly, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1538, (Fla. 2nd DCA 2016).  Error to require temporary alimony to continue past final judgment until house is sold when no such relief requested.


Smith v. Smith, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1514 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Certifies question of great public importance:  Where fundamental right to marry has not been removed from a ward under section 744.3215(2)(a), Florida Statues, is court approval required for a ward to marry?


Jackson v. Jackson, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1457 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2016).  Appellant entitled to a new trial when transcript was unable to be provided due to no fault of appellant and parties and trial court were unable to reconstruct the record.

Equitable Distribution:

Holaway v. Holaway, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1576 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016).  Error to divide post valuation profit of business in equitable distribution.

Jaeger v. Jaeger, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1530 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Trial Court erred valuing retirement account at some value other than value parties stipulated to.

Pachter v Pachter, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1513 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Trial court erred requiring Husband to pay expenses of house pending sale with wife having exclusive use and possessing without credit to Husband for one half expenses from proceeds.


Back v. Back, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1696 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2016).  Error to impute 140k to husband who lost his job, an no evidence of unemployment or termination due to misconduct.  Imputing income to unemployed parent for child support is a two part step; first court must determine is unemployment is voluntary and if so, what level to impute.  When there is no evidence that a parent is voluntarily unemployed imputing income is error.


Chizh obo AP and MC v. Chizh, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1617 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Improper to summarily deny injunction without explanation of how allegations are improper in order.

Potchen v. Potchen, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1553 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016).  Trial court erred granting petition to modify injunction without addressing respondent’s motion to appear by telephone due to incarceration.

O’Neill v. Goodwin, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1527 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016).  Injunction against stalking reversed when it was uncontroverted respondent had a legitimate reason to contact petitioner other than harassment.  Trial court cautioned not to restrict protected first amendment speech with a pre-made stamp on final order that says: “Respondent shall not post on internet regarding Petitioner”.


Bachman c. McLinn, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1671 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2016).  Trial Court erred granting former husband’s request for retroactive support prior to date of filing modification.

Fischer v. Fisher, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1531 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Trial court erred summarily dismissing modification action before the close of evidence because former husband’s reduction in income was not yet permanent when husband had a colorable claim that former wife’s income had increased as well.

Martin v. Robbins, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1489 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016).  Trial Court erred in denying modification when former wife had entered into supportive relationship and held herself to be married to a new man.


Slaton v. Slaton, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1655 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2016).  Order transferring temporary custudy of children to Father affirmed in part when alleged Mother and paramour involved in aggravated abuse against each other but remanded to address visitation and steps to restore.

JNS v. AMA, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1491 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016).  Trial court did consider domestic violence in determining parenting issues because it referred to police report where alleged abuse occurred.  Without transcript, appellate court cannot conclude trial court abused discretion.


Fahey v. Fahey, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1712 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016).  Final judgment providing husband was not father of child was not termination of parental rights which were subject to procedural safeguards.


Everett v. Everett, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1554 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016).  Trial court affirmed for denying Respondent’s motion to stay commitment order pending appeal.

Golden v. Bass, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1497 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016).  Trial court erred granting temporary change of custody when matter not noticed for hearing.  It is well settled that an order adjudicating issues not presented by the pleadings or noticed for hearing denies fundamental due process.


Viruet v. Grace, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1577 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016).  Trial court erred requiring husband to pay $100 per month towards support arrears when the amount of arrears was not yet determined.

Tramble v. Tramble, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1489 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016). Trial court erred, even without transcript, by failing to address Wife’s request for retroactive support.

Alvarado v. DOR o/b/o Alvarado, 41 Fl.L.Weekly D1457 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2016).  Parent paying unallocated child support must petition court to reduce the amount when one child reaches majority.

Temporary Relief:

Fortunoff v. Morris, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1679 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Trial court reversed for awarding temporary alimony in excess of husband’s stated needs in his financial affidavit without any other evidence on the issue.


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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