Family Law Case Updates – August 2021

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August Family Law Case Summaries:

Author: Eddie Stephens

Editor: Caryn A. Stevens

Associate Editor: Gina Szapucki

Alimony:

Samaniego v. Samaniego, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1794 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2021). When one party is entitled to permanent alimony but the other spouse has no current ability to pay, the trial court should award a nominal sum of permanent alimony which gives court jurisdiction to reconsider award should the parties’ circumstances change. Judge Alicia Polk, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Appeals:

Gay v. Mann, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1883 (Fla. 1st DCA 2021). Motion for rehearing on a motion for relief of judgment is not authorized, and does not toll time for an appeal. Dismissed.

Perini v. Perini, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1752 (Fla. 4th DCA 2021). An order for attorney’s fees that determines entitlement, but not amount, is not ripe for appeal. Judge Dennis Bailey, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Mendoza v. Curbelo, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1709 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2021). Appeal challenging entitlement to fees, with amount of fees not yet determined, is dismissed without prejudice. Judge Marcia B. Caballero, affirmed in part, dismissed in part.

Attorney’s Fees:

Melchione v. Temple, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1892 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021). Trial court erred denying a party fees based on financial assistance of family and friends. The court improperly imputed ability to pay without appropriate findings. Judge John D.W. Beamer, reversed. Supersedes opinion at 45 Fla.L.Weekly D2302b.

Juhl v. Juhl, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1837 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2021). Trial court erred denying post-judgment fees because the motion was filed 30 days after the hearing. Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.525 does not apply to family law cases. Judge Rebecca Hamilton, reversed.

Equitable Distribution:

Marks v. Shafton, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1771 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2021). Trial court erred adopting husband’s proposed equitable distribution schedule without making appropriate findings of facts on disputed items. Dissipated items must not be included in an equitable distribution unless trial court makes a specific finding that the spending spouse caused the dissipation through intentional misconduct. Judge Donna M. Padar, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Injunctions:

Ozyesilpinar v. Jalali, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1872 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2021). Continuous relationship between resident and HOA president, where resident alleged president was involved in illegal activity, was insufficient to support a stalking injunction. Judge Christine Bandin, reversed.

Burke v. Soles, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1854 (Fla. 4th DCA 2021). Trial court erred not granting rehearing on injunction when respondent could not appear at zoom injunction hearing due to technical difficulties. Judge Stefanie C. Moon, reversed.

Brown v. Garcia, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1773 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021). Trial court erred summarily denying a motion to modify injunction against repeat violence without conducting an evidentiary hearing. Judge Michael G. Takac, reversed.

Parenting:

Oral v. Oral, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1729 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021). Normally a stipulation to terminate former husband’s parental rights in exchange for waiver of child support and arrears is void due to public policy. But in this case, former husband never challenged the case on public policy grounds, and due to the unique circumstances of this case, the appellate court refused to reverse the ratification of the stipulation by grounds not raised by the former husband. Judge Jessica J. Recksiedler, affirmed.

Paternity:

Ransom v. Grant-Van Brocklin, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1801 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2021). Trial court erred dismissing a paternity case of child born into marriage without an evidentiary hearing. A biological father has standing to rebut the presumption of legitimacy when the father has manifested a substantial and continuing concern for the welfare of the child. Judge Maria Espinosa Dennis, reversed.

Procedure:

Carlos v. Carlos, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1856 (Fla. 34th DCA 2021). Order dismissing case automatically if not served within 120 days reversed, as petitioner has an opportunity to show good cause or excusable neglect. Judge James W. McCann, reversed.

Abidoshi v. Abidoshi, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1854 (Fla. 4th DCA 2021). Court has no jurisdiction to address an appeal regarding a Fla. Fam. L.R.P. 12.540 order, where the underlying order was an interim non-final order which was not appealed. Fla. Fam. L.R.P. 12.540 applies to final judgments only. Appeal dismissed.

In Re: Amendments to the Code of Judicial Conduct, 46 Fla.L.Weekly S229 (Fla. 2021). New rules governing senior judges serving as mediators, arbitrators and private judges.

Miller v. Green, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1773 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2021). Trial court erred not holding a hearing on party’s legally sufficient motion to contest the notice of delinquent child support payment. Judge Kimberly C. Bonner, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Rangel v. Rangel, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1731 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021). A waiver of all rights to homestead through a premarital agreement is valid and enforceable under Florida law. Judge Cary Frank Rada, reversed.

Edwards v. Codrington, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1728 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021). Trial court erred determining personal jurisdiction of husband was not needed to determine children’s issues, but error was harmless as husband waived personal jurisdiction defense when he filed a pro-se answer seeking affirmative relief. Judge Karen A. Foxman, affirmed.

Relocation:

Izaguirre v. Sanchez, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1802 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2021). Appellate court could not review non-final interim order allowing relocation of child to Spain after trial with no transcript until the court enters a final judgment and parenting plan. Judge Marcia Del Rey, affirmed.

Support:

Murkerson v. Murkerson, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1841 (Fla. 1st DCA 2021). Trial court affirmed for granting wife exclusive use and possession of the house until children are 15, 12 and 6 years old, instead of 15 years old, when the youngest child reaches majority, when the father could not buy his own home and the wife should be able to refinance after a period of exclusive use. Judge Angela Cox, affirmed in part, reversed in part.


Eddie Stephensauthor of Stephens’ Squibs – Florida Family Law Updates, is a partner at Ward Damon and leads the Family and Marital Law department.  He is a Board Certified Family Law attorney who specializes in high-conflict divorces. Most important to Stephens is litigating in a manner that minimizes the impact of divorce on children.

Caryn A. Stevens, editor of Stephens’ Squibs – Florida Family Law Updates, is a Partner at the law firm of Ward Damon in West Palm Beach, where she focuses her practice exclusively in the areas of marital and family law. Prior to practicing law,   Caryn spent over 12 years working in the mental health and counseling fields, as a mental health counselor in private practice, as a counselor for the Department of Children & Families, and later as an Elementary School Guidance Counselor. Caryn is a graduate of Florida State University, where she earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology, and her Masters and Specialist Degrees in Counseling & Human Services. Caryn received her Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University, and received pro bono honors for her volunteer legal work. In her prior work as a mental health counselor, Caryn has had the unique opportunity to assist thousands of children, families and couples through difficult life circumstances, which allow her to bring a unique and compassionate perspective to the clients she represents currently. Caryn is a current member of the Florida Bar Family Law Section, where she serves on the Children’s Issues Committee and the Domestic Violence Committee. Caryn also serves as the Treasurer of the Susan Greenberg Family Law Inn of Court of the Palm Beaches, and is a graduate of the Leadership Palm Beach County Class of 2019. Caryn is a native South Floridian, and currently lives in Palm Beach County with her Husband, and their adorable Mini Aussie.

Gina Szapucki is an associate at Ward Damon and concentrates her practice exclusively in the areas of marital & family law. Gina quickly realized she had a passion for helping families while clerking for a family law firm. Prior to joining Ward Damon, she practiced marital & family law at a boutique law firm. Her drive to assist and guide families during challenging times continues to grow. Gina represents clients from all walks of life while zealously advocating for individual’s rights under Florida law. Gina is originally from New Jersey but has called Florida home for the last 15 years. She is a proud Chi Omega Alumni and in her spare time enjoys traveling, cycling, exploring new restaurants and cuisines.

One thought on “Family Law Case Updates – August 2021

  1. Peggy Rowe-Linn

    Dear Eddie:

    Are you familiar with a case that teaches: If you have a motion hearing and don’t reserve on fees, you can’t go back and get them? As usual, time is of the essence. I thought I saw it in the past year.

    Peggy

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