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September 2021 Family Law Case Summaries:
Author: Eddie Stephens
Editor: Caryn A. Stevens
Associate Editor: Gina Szapucki
Morgan v. Morgan, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2076 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2021). Permanent alimony award of $1,000 per month to husband deemed nominal and insufficient based on wife’s monthly net income of $18,045 and husband’s monthly net income of $4,333.33. Judge Christopher M. LaBruzzo, affirmed in part, reversed in part.
A.A. v. D.W., 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1972 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2021). Final Judgment reversed, even without a transcript, when final judgment is intentionally and internally inconsistent on the award of timesharing. Judge Cecelia Moore Wilhite, reversed.
Martinez-Olson v. Estate of Dan Olson, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1943 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2021). Estate was allowed to seek enforcement when each party expressly waived interests in the other party’s retirement account, but deceased husband never changed the beneficiary form. Judge Maria Espinosa Dennis, affirmed.
Burke v. Burke, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1975 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2021). Trial court affirmed for not imputing income to sixty (60) year old, stay at home wife. Strong Dissent. Judge Christopher LaBruzzo, affirmed.
Chiu v. Adams, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1979 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021). One incident of stalking is not legally sufficient to support entry of an injunction. Judge Jerry L. Brewer, affirmed.
Moses v. Moses, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2065 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021). Trial court’s award of ultimate decision making over 18 separate areas of the child’s life transformed court’s shared parenting decision into an unsupported award of sole parenting. Judge Michael Kraynick, affirmed in part, reversed in part.
Bruno v. Moreno, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1908 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2021). Trial court erred modifying timesharing as a sanction for contempt, when relief was not requested, party was not on notice, and the best interests of the child were not addressed. Judge David N. Horton, affirmed in part, reversed in part.
Spaulding v. Spaulding, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1907 (Fla. 1st DCA 2021). Trial court affirmed for ordering supervised visitation without providing a roadmap for party to obtain unsupervised timesharing. Husband failed to preserve error that the court had no findings of detriment when the trial court awarded sole parental responsibility, as husband failed to raise issue with a rehearing and did not argue fundamental error on appeal. Judge Karen Cole, affirmed.
Young v. Williams, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2060 (Fla. 1st DCA 2021). Order reversed when notice of hearing was sent via E-Mail to petitioner, but the petitioner elected to receive communications by U.S. Mail per Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.516(b). Judge Robert K. Groeb, reversed.
Ager v. Berger, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2012 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021). Language in final judgment requiring that mom shall provide the child with current health insurance did not contradict paragraph that states mom will provide health insurance as long as the Affordable Care Act is available to her. Paragraphs and provisions in dissolution orders do not exist in hermetically sealed compartments. Judge Alan A. Dickey, affirmed.
Stevens v. Travers, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2059 (Fla. 1st DCA 2021). Trial court erred ordering husband to pay undifferentiated support in an amount that exceeds his income especially when wife just inherited $3 million dollars. Judge Lance M. Day, affirmed in part, reversed in part.
Kazan v. Hachache, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2044 (Fla. 4th DCA 2021). Trial court erred using one party’s proposed child support guidelines worksheet that had the wrong number of overnights in the worksheet. Judge Rosemarie Scher, affirmed in part, reversed in part.
Eddie Stephens, author 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.