Family Law Case Updates – December 2021

Alimony:

Pflanz v. Pflanz, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2668 (Fla. 1st DCA 2021). Error to award durational alimony on projected estimated expenses verses actual present expenses. Judge Anthony B. Miller, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Appeals:

Flowers v. Flowers, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2595 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021). Trial court affirmed for adjudicating child support and timesharing when it was not requested in pleadings. With no transcript, appellate court cannot discern if these matters were tried by consent. Judge Alicia Latimore, affirmed.

Alzirghani v. Algabah, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2550 (Fla. 1st DCA 2021). Where an error by the court appears for the first time on the face of a final order, a party must alert the court of the error via a motion for rehearing or some other appropriate motion to preserve the error. Judge Suzanne Bass, affirmed.

Attorney’s Fees:

Middleton v. Middleton, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2596 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021). Order on fees in high conflict case failed to include necessary findings of need and ability. The parties’ financial resources are generally the primary factor to consider in the parties’ respective need and ability to pay. Because the trial court failed to make necessary findings of fact, it prevents meaningful appellate review. Judge John M. Alexander, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Equitable Distribution:

Pflanz v. Pflanz, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2668 (Fla. 1st DCA 2021). Trial court erred assigning value of depleted account to party without evidence of misconduct. It is neither intentional misconduct nor a purpose unrelated to the marriage to use funds for attorney’s fees or to pay household bills and support the family. Judge Anthony B. Miller, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Injunctions:

Wall v. Kyramarios-Wall, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2671 (Fla. 5th DCA 2021). Order requiring parent to have no contact with child reversed when relief was not requested in the motion. Judge Nancy Maloney, reversed.

McGuire v. Boscan, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2573 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2021). Alleged incidents of violence that predate filing of injunction by more than a year are too remote in time to support entry of an injunction; in absence of more recent evidence of domestic violence or evidence that the petitioner has reasonable cause to believe they are in imminent danger. Judge Elisabeth M. Espinosa, reversed.

Dean v. Beavis, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2557 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2021). Trial court affirmed for prohibiting respondent of a stalking injunction from possessing firearms. Strong dissent that unless there is domestic violence, or court finds a credible threat, this violates constitution. Judge Lisa S. Porter, affirmed.

Modification:

Cisneros v. Guinand, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2656 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2021). Trial court had jurisdiction to act on a motion for rehearing filed 8 months after final judgment, because it met requirements of petition for modification. Writ of Mandamus granted.

Parenting:

De La Fe v. De La Fe, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2603 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2021). Award of ultimate decision making reversed when no specific finding that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child. Judge John S. Carlin, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Velasquez v. Mendieta, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2509 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2021). Trial court has authority to appoint a Guardian ad Litem sua sponte. Judge Christina Marie DiRaimondo, affirmed.

Procedure:

Contreras v. Contreras, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2578 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2021). Property rights cannot be adjudicated in divorce proceedings with constructive service unless the property is specifically described in the petition and in the constructive service served. Judge Christina Marie DiRaimondo, reversed.

Pearson v. Pearson, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2571 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2021). Portion of order appointing Guardian ad Litem requiring parties to submit to psychological evaluations quashed, as mental health of parties was not in controversy, nor was there a showing of good cause. Judge David Young’s order quashed, in part.

In Re: Amendments to the Florida Rules for Qualified and Court Appointed Parenting Coordinators, 46 Fla.L.Weekly S370 (Fla. 2021). Adds qualification, disqualification, and renewal requirements for parenting coordinators.

In Re: Amendments to the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure 12.410, 46 Fla.L.Weekly S369 (Fla. 2021). Eliminates necessity to file a notice of issuance of subpoena to parties.

UCCJEA:

Alvarez v. Jimenez, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D2576 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2021). Trial court affirmed for vacating final judgment on finding Florida was not the home state, and therefore lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Court reversed for awarding prevailing party fees under Fla. Stat. §61.535, because this was not enforcement of foreign decree, rather an action to set aside final judgment. Judge Victoria del Pino, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

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