Family Law Case Updates – February 2022

Appeals:

Baltodano v. Baltodano, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D343 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Appeal of order denying rehearing that was untimely did not toll time for appeal. Dismissed.

Ortiz v. Ortiz, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D320 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Second appeal of alimony and equitable distribution because trial court complied with mandate and made the necessary findings. Amended judgment affirmed. Judge David Young, affirmed.

Attorney’s Fees:

Alvarez v. Salazar, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D372 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court erred awarding fees for vexatious litigation without consideration of finances or findings that would support an award under the inequitable conduct doctrine. Judge Michael Rothschild, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Equitable Distribution:

Silvas v. Silvas, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D446 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court affirmed for imposing the constructive trust when there is (1) a promise express or implied; (2) transfer of the property and reliance thereon; (3) a confidential relationship; and (4) unjust enrichment. Matter reversed to give party credit for premarital contribution. Judge Laurie E. Buchanan, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Chatten v. Chatten, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D438 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Fact wife provided down payment for home did not overcome presumption of gift which would support unequal distribution. Judge Cynthia L. Cox, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Injunctions:

Stallings v. Bernard, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D482 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2022). One harassing message and a car chase ending with a window broken by a baseball bat was insufficient for stalking injunction. Judge Amy M. Williams, reversed.

Dickson v. Curtis, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D356 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Court did not delegate authority by signing one party’s proposed final judgment, when both sides were invited to submit proposed judgments. In this case, filing an injunction eleven (11) months after incident was not too remote, when child failed to tell parent of the incident because he was scared. Judges Samantha Ruiz Cohen and Christina Marie DiRaimondo, affirmed.

Santos v. Bartoletta, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D319 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2022). Trial court erred granting an injunction against dating violence when no evidence of reasonable cause to believe petitioner is in imminent danger of being a victim of an act of violence in the future. When considering whether a petitioner has such reasonable cause, the trial court must consider the current allegations, the parties’ behavior within the relationship, and the history of the relationship as a whole. Judge Lisa Allen, reversed.

Parenting:

Lofton v. Arthur, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D375 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). It is not an abuse of discretion for trial court to refuse a path of reunification with child. Judge Robert K. Groeb, affirmed.

Procedure:

Belanger v. Belanger, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D443 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court affirmed for denying continuance, after attorney withdrew with client’s consent. Judge Cynthia L. Cox, affirmed.

Hodge v. Babcock, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D416 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Trial court erred changing temporary custody when matter was not noticed for hearing. Judge Marcia Del Rey’s order, quashed.

Tampa Park Apartments, Inc. v. Berry-Andrews, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D411 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2022). Writ of certiorari granted quashing discovery order allowing production of non-parties’ financials, without an evidentiary hearing to determine relevance. Judge Robin F. Fuson’s order quashed.

Rai v. Rai, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D406 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Party has 20 years from date of judgment to enforce. Judge Diana M. Tennis, affirmed.

Schneiderman as PR of Estate of Tepper v. Baer, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D362 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court erred granting motion to dismiss, relying on information outside the four corners of the pleading when considering the motion to dismiss. A non-party to the dissolution, who is not an intended third-party beneficiary, is without authority to set aside or modify final judgment of dissolution. Judge Charles E. Burton, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

De Oliveira v. Sim, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D360 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Court erred denying motion to quash service when no summons was issued or served. Judge Victoria del Pino, reversed.

Toledano v. Garcia, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D351 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Any issue a magistrate rules on that was not properly referred to the magistrate is a nullity. Judge Bernard S. Shapiro, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Graham v. Graham, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D345 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Trial court erred entering orders on case that had already been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Judge Diana M. Tennis, reversed.

In Re: Amendments to Fla. Fam. Law of Procedure 12.510, 47 Fla.L.Weekly S46 (Fla. 2022). Summary judgment rule modified to include detailed instructions for pro se litigants, and prevents summary judgment motions from being filed while mandatory discovery pending.

Payne v. Koch, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D317 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Trial court erred excluding body cam video footage at injunction hearing when there was no discussion of whether respondent would be prejudiced. Judge Susan Stacy, dismissal of injunction, reversed.

Saario v. Tiller, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D312 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Court adopting parties’ one-page equitable distribution sheet, after both parties had ability to submit and comment, was not a Berg-Perlow violation. Judge Michael J. Rudisill, affirmed.

Support:

Lifaite v. Charles, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D368 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court erred failing to use correct income and to include daycare costs in support calculation. Trial court also erred in failing to award retroactive support, when there was a demonstrated need. Judge Karen Miller, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Boulos v. Rubio, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D350 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) provided if parties couldn’t agree on private school and costs, these issues would be presented to the court for determination. Trial court affirmed for deciding issue in accordance with “Brennan” elements: (1) parent has the ability to pay; (2) expense in accordance with families established standard of living; and (3) attendance is in child’s best interest. Judge Victoria del Pino, affirmed.

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