Family Law Case Updates – February 2017


Duke v. Duke, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D372 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017).  Trial court failed to impute interest income Wife’s ½ share in Husband’s retirement in calculating alimony.

Attorneys’ Fees:

Duke v. Duke, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D372 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017).  A dissolution order awarding attorney’s fees that recites simply that the total amounts of time and rates are reasonable are insufficient to support award of fees.

Beckford v. Drogan, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D280 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017).  Section 742.045 does authorize attorneys’ fees for paternity appeals.  Recedes from Gilbertson v. Boggs, 743 So.2d 123 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999) and certifies conflict with Starkey v. Linn, 727 So.2d 386 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999).

Child Support:

Knight v. Knight, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D282 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017).  Trial court reversed for calculating child support using “gross up method when Father did not exercise at least 20% overnights.”

Domestic Violence:

Zapiola v. Kordecki, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D379 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017).  Injunction against domestic violence reversed when originally entered based on Respondent throwing a drink and punching Petitioner in the face four years ago, then Respondent attempting non-threatening contact through Facebook and vague allegation Respondent could cause Petitioner harm because she is a traffic aid.  An isolated incidence of domestic violence that occurred years before petition will not usually support the issuance of injunction in absence of current allegations.  Where “hear alone” is the “reasonable cause” alleged to support injunction, then not only must danger feared be imminent, but the rationale for the fear must be objectively reasonable as well.

Due Process:

Barsis v. Barsis, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D315 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017).  Trial court violated Wife’s due process by considering issue of reimbursement of rents which was not raised in pleadings or tried by consent.

Equitable Distribution:

Garcia-Lawson v. Lawson, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D348 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Trial court reversed for securing Wife’s equalizing payment with equitable lien on her share of Husband’s retirement.


Washburn v. Washburn, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D243 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007).  Bank records which were hearsay and without certificate of declaration, did not meet business records exception contained in F.S. 90.803(6)(c).  Fact that document disclosed pursuant to mandatory discovery does not render it immune from standard rules of evidence, including having to demonstrate a proper exception to hearsay if evidence is, in fact, hearsay.

Life Insurance:

Duke v. Duke, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D372 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017).  Trial court failed to make specific evidentiary findings regarding the availability and cost of insurance, the obligor’s ability to pay, and special circumstances that warrant security of obligation.


Munoz v. Munoz, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D306 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016).  Trial court improperly delegated authority to therapist as to when Husband can advance steps of transitional timesharing.  Court also erred giving Wife unilateral discretion to change therapist.


Ramadan v. Ramadan, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D432 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017).  Order denying motion for continuance reversed and remanded for new trial.  Under certain circumstances the denial may create an injustice that outweighs the policy of not disturbing the trial court’s ruling.

Garcia-Lawson v. Lawson, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D343 (Fla. 4th DCS 2017).  Former Wife lacked standing to seek retroactive child support for the first time after the child’s 18th birthday.

Stokes v. Stokes, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D333 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017).  Parenting plan conflicting with final judgment containing detailed findings of fact remanded.

Hudson v. Hudson, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D325 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017).  Trial court erred considering issue of reimbursement of rents when not raised in pleadings or tried by consent.


Ryans v. Bell, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D384 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017). Child support calculation that did not deduct cost of Husband’s health insurance premium from gross income reversed and remanded.

Temporary Relief:

Ard v. Ard, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D351 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017).  Award of temporary alimony reversed when based on Wife’s testimony of her anticipated expenses when she moves. No evidence of expenses or when Wife would move provided.  Normally, courts have broad discretion in temporary award, but in this case, trial court abused discretion.

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